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  • Writer's pictureDan Robinson

As We Wait for Election Results, What Do You Lean on?

It’s early morning, the day after the U.S. elections, and we don’t know the outcome of the Presidential race nor a number of elections happening around the country. We’re in that in-between moment where we’re not sure how things will turn out. That’s a hard place to be. The unknown is stressful and challenging, and yet, we have found ourselves here so often this year, facing the unknown of a worldwide pandemic, the necessary challenge of a racial reckoning, the stress of a depressed economy.

However, while things seemingly hang in the balance, the reality is that whenever we wake up from this fever-dream of an election, we will still have the pandemic, systemic racism, and a struggling economy. We’ll still have climate change and an ailing Great Lakes Basin. We’ll still have the same problems and challenges we had the day before.

The question is, then... what do we lean on to get us through these challenges, to solve these problems, to help us wait in this in-between moment? That is a spiritual question. How we answer that says a lot about our view of the world and ultimate reality.

For me, it comes down to three basic ideas.

Bay of Green Bay (Photo by Dan Robinson)

First, I believe that Love is the foundation of our existence. I grew up in the Christian tradition, which says that Jesus was the embodiment of God’s Love. Love has been a recurring theme in my conversations with folks from other religious traditions, too. Love is (if you’ll pardon the pun) at the heart of this world.

Second, we experience that Love in one of two ways, beginning with nature. Being by one of the Great Lakes feeds my spirit in ways that I am only beginning to understand. I experience the Love present in the world on those shores or by the Wolf River in my own community, whose waters eventually reach Lake Michigan.

But Love is more fundamental than my own personal experience. Katy Bresette and Jerry Jondreau told me the Ojibwe story of when the first humans showed up in this world. The animals and plants realized our ancestors weren’t going to make it on their own, so they agreed to help them, to sacrifice a little bit of themselves in order for us to survive. That self-giving Love is, again, at the heart of our world.

Third, we experience Love, as that story illustrates, through our relationships and our connections. That includes our relationships with the people around us, whether we agree with how they voted or not. The truth is, we depend on each other, for food and clothing, for shelter and warmth, for protection and community, for health and our very existence. None of us are self-sufficient. We are all in this together.

So, as we wait for election results, I’m choosing to lean on Love, nature, and relationships to get me through this in-between-moment and the challenges that remain afterwards. What do you lean on? What sustains you in the stress and challenge of the unknown? Whatever it is, may it be for you a source of strength and sustenance in the days ahead.

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