I’m a giver. I give, give and give some more. I like giving. But this week I found myself not wanting to give. I wanted to stop giving because I was mad. I was mad at America.
I was mad because I had high hopes for America, and for good reason.
Like many of us, I have faced adversity in my life. Some times more difficult to deal with than others. But I got through it because I developed a cure to heal the hurt in my heart. And then gave myself the vaccination more commonly known as false expectation.
You see, I injected myself with false expectation of people and then I became mad when they didn’t prove me right.
This trusted survival technique allowed me to have the audacity of hope that I lived in an America with a heart much like mine. In fact, I spent quite some time convincing myself I wasn’t alone with such a heart. So then, “my heart” (in my mind) became “our heart”. And boy was our heart pretty darn awesome.
Our heart wanted love to win this election. Our heart wanted goodness to win. Our heart wanted people to enjoy the freedom to disagree on issues while still being able to put disagreements aside and share the dinner table with one another; Filling our stomachs with good food and laughter so intense at times we could hardly breathe. And no, our heart wasn’t looking for that in any one particular candidate. Our heart was looking for that in the American people.
That is the heart of America I convinced myself existed. It was a necessary adjustment I needed to make so that I could continue to give. This is the truth I have governed my entire life by and it is the same truth that somehow, I felt turned into a bold-faced lie on November 9th 2016.
And because my heart felt the American people failed to deliver on this unjustified expectation, my precious heart broke into pieces and I cried like a baby. And then I became mad.
I had lost my desire to give.
First, I was mad in general. Then I became more specific with my outrage. I started pointing and blaming. Then I started isolating demographics of people by who they voted for. Then I narrowed my focus to people I knew, personally. People I went to school with. People I met at work and became friends with. People I met in my community, at church and people I came to know through my kids’ activities. I started turning my focus to neighbors and random people at the supermarket and on the road. As a result, I hurt people. Some who shared their feelings with me and others who haven’t said a word.
I was losing it.
I carried this behavior on and on as the hours rolled by. And I continued to feed my anger by scrolling and sharing my feelings on social media, talking to friends (who agreed with me of course) all while intentionally looking for ways to justify my pain.
I felt sick to my stomach. I cried again….called a friend. Cried some more. Called another friend while crying some more, until…..
….I realized something.
I WAS WRONG.
I was wrong for shaming people for their decision. I was wrong to create a false expectation of people and then charge them with the crime of failing to deliver. I was wrong for hurting people who hadn’t directly hurt me.
Who we have elected isn’t who we are as America. Who we’ve elected represents, in part (a lot of parts) the ugliest parts of the ugliest parts of some of the American people. And those people may not be totally ugly in heart; they just have ugly parts inside their heart that need cleaning.
Crazy thing about is, I do too.
When I came to this conclusion, I knew I had to get my heart back to a place where I could give again with sincerity. I knew I had to get rid of the toxic mindset I created in response to my pain.
I knew if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be able to continue my life as a giver. And those people who need to get what I have wouldn’t be helped. And then they would be mad. They would feel hurt. They would likely then turn that hurt into anger and behave the very way I did when I was mad too. And that is not the America I hope for.
I realized (after my friend so graciously reminded me during one of my crying fits) it’s not my job to “fix” everyone I think needs to be fixed! Because the real truth is, my heart needed to be fixed too. This week was a perfect display of that.
I realized I had misplaced the burden of hope I created for America. Instead of charging myself with full responsibility, I placed the blame on the American people. And for that, I am deeply sorry.
The resolve? Change begins with me.
I must place the expectation only on myself to vigorously behave like the America I hope to exist. I must do this persistently despite adversity so that I may someday see the America I hoped for.