A lot of life happens in four years. Stories contribute to it all. Our stories, others’ stories, and the bigger story God is writing through them.
In November 2016, I wrote my reflections about the days after the Presidential election. https://stephaniejthompson.com/2016/11/14/the-hard-work-of-being-neighbors/ My own discontent, questions and desire to lean in to hear messages in the madness led me to hear one thing loud and clear: We really don’t know each other.
As I noted then, “It’s easy to love neighbors like ourselves. When we feel misunderstood, we tend to look for comfort in those who share our views. We long for someone to listen and validate our pain and hopefully our identity as we see it. But when we engage in those interactions, we must be aware that there is a bigger narrative at work. One that involves the stories of people different than us.”
Has anything changed? Have we intentionally leaned into understand the stories behind the labels? Do we seek to make changes in our own lives in order to advocate for others who feel forgotten? Sue Monk Kidd, in her book “The Book of Longings” writes, “To be forgotten is the saddest thing of all.”
How can we speak up for one another rather than over one another?
As we approach the opportunity to vote again, may we take our “neighbors” with us to the polls. If the results do not align with our preference, let us remember that the Kingdom of God cannot be bound by election results. Pastor Rich Villodas reminds us, “The church is not to be found at the “center” of a left right political world. The church is to be a species of its own kind, confounding left, right, and middle, and finding its identity from the “center” of God’s life.
Our personal and collective story doesn’t end November 3rd. May we keep listening, learning, and loving.
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