Madam Secretary

I sent this letter to Hillary Clinton tonight. 

I can’t wait for tomorrow.

 

Madam Secretary,
It started about a week ago. Well, it’s been happening in bits and spurts all year, but it started happening all the time about a week ago.

The crying.

Every time I read an article. Or watched your closing week videos. Or saw your special, local fleur de lis signs throughout my neighborhood. Or read the stories on #pantsuitnation. I held it in when my kid told me she voted for you in school today, so casually, like it was no big thing and I should have assumed it all along, and don’t be all emotional about it anyway, gosh! And tonight, as I planned out what I would wear to go to the polls tomorrow, where I would go to watch the returns, and how I’d manage to get a hold of my internationally jet-setting, 78-yr-old, early-voting mom once the returns come in…

I’m crying. All the time. And I’m not ashamed. Because these are bad-ass tears of joy. For a barrier broken. For ceiling shattered. For our first woman president. And I’ll be crying all the way to the polls. Big, bad-ass tears of joy.

When I was a little girl, I told my dad I was going to be the first woman president. It was 1980-something, and my dad told me I’d never be the first woman president. Because surely a woman would be president before I grew up.

As a teenager, my mother told me, and I can only assume my four sisters too, “Honey, you can be absolutely anything you want to be. You’re just going to have to work harder at it because you’re a girl.”

When I was 18, I cast my very first vote for a presidential candidate for your husband, and at the time, I told my friends, “I wish I could vote for Hillary instead.”

Twenty years later, on the eve of the day when I will get to vote for you for the third time, even though I live in a state that will not turn your way, I will take my kid with me, so she can see me check that box and be a part of electing the first woman president. So she can be a part of electing the first woman president.

Big, bad ass tears of joy.

This election cycle has been brutal. And for a while now, I’ve just been praying for it to end. But now, it’s the night before the day, THE DAY WHEN WE ELECT THE FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and I almost don’t want it to end. Almost.

I hope, in the middle of all of this, all the hype and the press, the events and the polls, those horrible debates, the rallies and meetings, and the fundraisers, oh my word the fundraisers, I hope that here and there, in tiny moments and ways, in the middle of all of this, you’ve been able to make space to hear all of us little girls and grown women, shouting THANK YOU! And I hope you’ve been able to sneak in just a few big, bad-ass tears of joy of your own.

Go get ’em, Hillary.
We are with you.
I am with you. With my bad-ass tears of joy. And my pantsuit, too.

With gratitude,
Erin

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NaBloPoMo: Day 3

Today, because more than 500 of my colleagues were standing with the many, many water protectors who have been standing for justice and life along the Missouri River, I decided to be bold like them make my own stand for justice.

So, at dinner, I sat my kid down and tried to explain to her what’s happening with Standing Rock and #NoDAPL.

Now, we’ve moved a lot over the years. And she lived two different lives before she came to live with me. So I had no idea what she had been taught about our country’s history and the violence toward and oppression of native peoples.

Usually when I start to talk about these things, she rolls her eyes and grunts and makes some rather forceful suggestions that we maybe, might could change the conversation topic. (At least, that’s how I interpret, “Oh, shut up!”)

But today she listened. She heard the whole (well, actually very short version of the whole) story. Of hurting and stealing and taking over and shoving out and killing and making promises and breaking them and doing that over and over again and treaty lines and water access and holy grounds and spiritual space and discrimination and law breaking and sovereign nation violation and greed and hurt and injustice.

And she listened.

And for me, today, for us, that was a huge step toward justice. Because it happens that way too.

So we keep on…

NaBloPoMo

All the things happen in November and people make more plans and daily disciplines than they do at New Years and I grew worried that I might miss out on the fun so I decided to do NaBloMoPoCeeLoElEmEnOPeeYo. Or whatever. I’m gonna try to write a lot and blog a lot and share a bit get back into the habit.

So here it is.

Today was my first day back after taking 10 days off to be with family after the death of my dear aunt Melissa. Well, it was kind of my first day back. After we flew in yesterday, and I got the kid to school, and I got the dog from the doggie hotel, and I got pulled over by a cop, and I cleaned up the dog puke when we got back home, then I worked 7 hours. But today was my first FULL day back.

I had grand plans of course. I was going to return all the emails, organize all the upcoming things, visit all the home visits, prepare all the worships, order all the advent materials, and read a whole book for this week’s book club. Oh, and don’t forget that meeting with the Chief of Police and the church neighborhood outreach event tonight. Good thing I’m not too ambitious or anything.

But as I attacked that list, my heart was still a bit broken. And my ministry muscles were sore. And the right words wouldn’t come. And I just simply couldn’t face the Chief today.

So instead, I let myself sit in the office all alone. I worked on one thing for worship on Sunday. Just one thing. One creative piece. One moment for reflection. One opportunity for engagement in prayer and tradition and loved ones and God’s love. If I’m honest, I think I spent a little too long on that one thing. But also, it helped me return. To this space. To my job. To my community.

It’s only been a bit more than two years for me, doing this ministry stuff full time. I can’t seem to figure out how to pace it. How do you get it all done and also rest in God? How do you make space for all the spaces and stuff and visits and study and getting out and being present and writing the stinking newsletter articles? And how do you do all that when your own heart is broken or your own faith is tested?

Well, I’m working on that. And I’m surrounding myself with solid mentors who’ve been doing just that, or who are striving to do that, and keep filling me up with tips. When I get it all down, I’ll let you know.

Until then, you may occasionally find me alone in the building, locked behind my office door, shoving aside a massive and ambitious to-do list, coloring pictures of the saints in my life.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

image

A coloring for an idea for our All Saints Worship this Sunday at OHPC. It’s okay. I know. I’m an excellent colorer. Thanks.