What Now?

So many times, I find myself asking the question of ‘what now’. After finishing a paper, I ask ‘what now’ to find out what my next assignment is. When I eat my breakfast, my ‘what now’ is asking what’s for lunch. If I accomplish something, the question of ‘what now’ is figuring out a new goal to work towards.

Countless words have been shared today, in the face of the election results last night. Facebook is constantly full of poems, prayers, anger, excitement, sadness, and just about every other thing you could imagine. So many words. Still, I keep reading. I refresh my home page and read more, expecting to find something to answer my current ‘what now’ question.

Shockingly enough, I’m not finding an answer.

The events of this election led our country to a scary place, one which we now are becoming forced to introduce ourselves to. But how? I don’t have any unique words or insights that might help people to feel better or to gain clarity. I can’t offer that.

At 8am this morning, 15 students gathered in a small conference room to pray, sing, and listen to one another. It was a time of tears and of holy silence and of frustration. It was a time of seeing the broken and hearing the ones without hope. It was a beautiful, heartbreaking. Maybe this is my ‘what now’.

Following a beautiful chapel service, about 150 of my colleagues filed into our community room with empty stomachs and hearts with varying levels of fullness, in order to share a meal together. People sensed the brokenness that was silent, but incredibly present in the space we were in. Hugs and words of affirmation filled the room. People gave generously the energy they didn’t have for themselves. Maybe this is my ‘what now’.

All throughout my day, I’ve been completely out of it. I can’t focus on my work, find myself being distracted, and again, spending too much time on social media. There’s this kind of ‘dazed and confused’ way about me today. It’s as if something bigger than myself is reminding me of what’s important. Believe it or not, my reading for class isn’t what’s important, nor is my looming deadline for my job, or that event flyer I’m supposed to make.

It’s the people that are important, the community I choose to be with.

So the people, my community- that’s my ‘what now’ for the time being. It’s spending an extra minute to ask how someone is doing, even when you know the red puffy eyes tells it all. It’s being strong when all you want to do and all you have to offer is tears and tantrums. It’s hearing (and really listening to) the narrative of those in complete fear, fear that their life and their humanity will now be deemed unworthy. It’s figuring out what it’s going to take to have that conversation with the people close to you who voted for that change, people who don’t yet understand the incredible impact this decision has had on your life. It’s sitting in a silent room, writing about the very same community who sits alongside you at that very moment.

We have to stick together, Friends. We have to be honest with our own pain, and address the pain in others. We have to take a moment to focus on now, and realize that ‘what now’ may just be how you will get through the day. That is enough. Your process is enough.

Take care of yourselves.

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