Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
Election Day 2016: Half the country will be going from failure to failure today. May we be enthusiastic about it– you know– good sports. If nothing else, it will be over soon. Remember The Passion of the Christ? Jesus trudging and falling under the excruciating weight of the beams he dragged while his life’s blood flowed out hundreds of whip slices, thorn stabs, and even his facial hair, ripped out like so many weeds. Simon of Cyrene told* him, “You’re almost there.” The there being the hill of crucifixion. Not the same as you’re almost there about the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Still, it was meant to encourage. This particular hell is almost over. Focus on that.
Same with today: we’re almost there. But there isn’t going to be pretty either, like as not.
I cast my vote. Life marches on. I fill my tank with gas, get groceries, get my hair cut. The deus ex machina I hope will turn our nation’s story around, but that I also fear will turn our nation’s story on its head– may or may not come today.
When the election looms too large, I’ll remember my walk in the woods. I’ll go there in my memory the way one returns to vacation or a kiss or a victory, and I’ll visit it again and again. I’ll recall the crunch of leaves under my feet, how they fell twisting to the ground like confetti, orange spades the size of hands spiraling through the branches and down past ancient trunks. It only took a slight breeze to touch off the kamikazes, a million deaths fluttering to the ground in a moment, gorgeous. Their smells enter my nose like jazz music, barely realized hypnotism. I am one such leaf, not aware I’m mid-fall, not special, one of a million. Our vast numbers make us marvelous, but not special. Except to God. How masterful is God to orchestrate such beauty in death? The most beautiful image God ever created was a death, was it not?
As the sun sets today and the polls close, it will be the death of this election. We’re almost there. God’s will will be done in America today as it is every day. That is a great mystery– our free will doesn’t trump God’s will, and death is not the end of a matter. History has proven that over and over again. If our next president means we go from failure to failure, let us do so enthusiastically. This is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. – 1 John 5:4
*Mel Gibson’s The Passion (2004) rendered that speech. The Bible records no words between them, only that Simon was compelled to carry Jesus’ cross.