Monday, November 19, 2012

"a time to come together"

Or--an alternate title could be "some thoughts on the election".

First of all, who decided that "blue" means democrat and "red" means republican? It drives me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I love both colors, but it is SO hard for me to remember which is which, because it's exactly opposite of what I think it should be.  To me, blue is a much more conservative color, where red is a much more liberal color.  Right?  Who's with me?  Let's switch that baby around!!

* * *

I didn't follow the election that closely.  That's because (and this might be a little TMI), about 4 years ago when the stock market went on a wild free fall I was a brand new mother, and a fairly new wife to a diabetic husband who was attending school.  The stress of knowing that the only thing between us and living in our parents' basement, medicaid card in hand (if we could qualify for medicaid), was my paycheck (which check would come from an arts organization primarily funded by donations, most of which donations came from the stock portfolios of generous and wealthy patrons, portfolios that in one month had lessened in value substantially), was a little (a lot) much for my postpartum mind to handle, and I stopped paying attention to the news, for the good of my own mental health.  (Kind of a long sentence huh? Sorry about that. Not sorry enough to change it though, obviously.)

Since then, I'll occasionally turn on npr, glance over, look at CNN while I'm at the gym, whatever.  I never stay long though.  I invariably get a pit in my stomach when I give more than a marginal amount of attention to current events.  Call it anxiety, call it paranoia, call it going through life with blinders on, I'm happier, more productive, and a better use to those who need me when I'm not aware of everything that is happening and (more importantly) everything that everyone is saying about everything that is happening.  It works for me, and I'm sticking with it.

That said, I'd been a fan of Mitt Romney since he took the fiasco that was the Salt Lake Olympic bid scandal and turned it into the crowning achievement of my state, the 2002 Winter Olympics.  I (perhaps naively) figure that if he can take a mess like that and turn it into success, there are a few messes in my country that I'd like to let him take a crack at as well.

As it turns out, the majority of the country didn't see things the same way I did, and we've got President Obama for another couple of years.  I'm disappointed, but not despondent.  I'm leery of the future, but I've been that way for many (waaay more than four) years now, so this is nothing new.  I'm not panicking.  I'm not planning for the world to end (or at least any more than I've been planning for the last twenty or so years).  I am watching the signs of the times and keeping my eyes riveted on the Prophet and the Apostles.  I'm studying the scriptures. I'm praying.  I was doing that before the election, and I'm doing it still, and in doing so, I've found peace.  I don't doubt that there are rough -probably really rough- days ahead, but to quote some counsel from my childhood, "No one ever got stronger from pushing against a marshmallow".  I'd like to be stronger than I am now, so I suppose I should be grateful for any opportunities for struggle that come my way.  I'm not generally grateful of course, but if I work at it, maybe one day I will be.

* * *

And now, for something a little lighter.  Almost immediately after the election results were officially announced, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles released the following statement:

We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.
After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.

So, wanting to be obedient, and having just had a "prayer spot"* open up in the wake of my mom's win (Yippee!) for State School Board, Eric and I sat Heather down and explained a bit about the election and told her that President Monson had asked us to pray for President Obama.  Since then, we have consistently prayed for him in all our family and (I assume in the case of Eric) personal prayers.

This has inadvertently caused a little bit of consternation in the family.

A few days ago, Heather was getting ready to eat lunch at grandma's house, with some of her cousins.  It fell to Heather to say the blessing on the food (much to her joy), and as she asked Heavenly Father to bless the food, she also asked Him to bless President Obama.  After the prayer was over, the cousins looked at her, aghast.  One of them demanded to know why Heather was praying for Obama!  What about Romney???  We pray for Romney!!!  

Heather of course, not having heard anything about any election (other than Grandma Corry's election of course) hadn't a clue who Romney was or what they were talking about.  But, she's not one to back down from a challenge, so she shot back indignantly that the Prophet wanted us to pray for President Obama, so that's what she was going to do.  Romney, Schromny.

When Grandma Cantwell told me the story, I about laughed my head off.  (And the upside is that now even Grandma Cantwell, a dedicated Rush Limbaugh devotee, has even begun to pray for President Obama, if not by name (we all have our limits I suppose) at least by title. Good work, Heather.)


Image courtesy of diamondduste

*In case you don't know me well enough to know this--I'm (mostly) kidding about the "prayer spot".  It's true that with Heather's limited attention span we can't pray for everything our hearts desire in our family prayers.  However, we don't have a designated "set prayer" that we follow, or anything like that.  (Not on purpose, at least.)


loveland9 said...

Amen on the colors!!

And.....everything else. Love the church leaders. So grateful for their wise and inspired words that help me.

Jake said...

Love that story. In my mind's eye I can see Heather standing her ground.

kates said...

Okay, I love everything you said in this post and agree with you 100% (except that I absolutely never look at anything news related). I love it when people stand up and say--focus on the power of prayer and what our own goodness can do! You go little Heather!

Juliana said...

Love it! The Heather story is priceless and, as children's experiences so often are, a good lesson for all of us. And I'm so very glad I'm not the only one who can't keep the colors straight!

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