One of my earliest memories of catechism and CCD (which I never knew stood for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) was being introduced to what some call “the wedding scripture.”
Love is patient…
Love is kind…
The teacher brought the scripture to life when he suggested we substitute our own name for the word love.
Patricia is patient…
Patricia is kind…
Whoa. That brought it too close for comfort because all I could think of were the countless times when I wasn’t patient, when I chose not to be kind. Which of course was the teacher’s point. Not to shame us, but to make the scripture come alive for us with relevance to our everyday impatient, unkind ways.
I have been quiet here on these pages, and I was both impatient and unkind toward myself with every passing silent week.
Many people think I’m shy. I’m not. Many people think I’m hard to get to know. That, I won’t completely argue with. But those who truly know me rarely hear me say I just don’t know what to say.
Until lately. When I began to feel incredibly weary of all the violence and hatred and pain in the world, much of it seeming to centralize in my own country. I – a white woman of immense privilege – have felt weary, discouraged, powerless. Which is only a fraction of the experience for those who must endure the constant racism, hatred and discrimination in which we are mired.
But always in the back of my mind was a day in the distant future that is mercifully now here. The day when I could transfer all my big thoughts and feelings onto a voting ballot. Preparing to do so, I looked up a sample ballot and was overwhelmed with the potential that lay within. Part new-car smell, part September school supply shopping, the idea of voting contains at least the potential for a fresh start, and a moment to recommit to our path as a nation.
Some will vote to continue the path we’re on. Others, myself included, will vote to make a course correction to our path. Regardless of the choices we make, we are guaranteed the right to have our say. (Battling to remain positive, I leave voter suppression, gerrymandering and the like for another day.)
No one yet knows where we’ll go beyond this mid-term voting crossroad. But what if, just for one day, we change the word “love” in this well-known verse? What if we allow ourselves a moment to celebrate the process before we leap to keeping score? Before we assign winners and losers. When we gather at the elementary schools, the civic centers and the churches, we can choose to see the other voters as our neighbors or as the people who have all the wrong ideas.
Just as it’s our choice to select among candidates, it’s also our choice to see our brothers and sisters at the polls as enemies, or to see them through a lens of love and kindness.
I say we vote for love.