I’ve cried a few times today. Some of you will be fine with knowing that. More’s the pity…
I cried when I was awakened at 1:43 a.m. by the sound of fireworks above my house. One of my neighbors is apparently in the Trump base. And they represented the classlessness I would expect to be the norm in the next four (and it will be only FOUR) years. I cried because I was startled awake and because for a few moments I was unsure of if they were fireworks or gunshots. I almost immediately wondered: “What’s the difference?”
I cried when I woke again and was in the shower, struck with the thought of “…but I’d thought we’d come so FAR…” And then I dwelled on the fact that our first black president is going to be followed by a man (and I do not intend to use the word “President” to describe him in my lifetime) who was openly endorsed by the KKK and did not turn it away.
I cried on my lunch break while I was in my car and my 70-year-old father who is a lifelong Democrat texted me to say that he felt embarrassed to be in public, because he’s a 70-year-old white man and he “probably looks like a Trump voter.” He doesn’t deserve to feel ashamed when he did the right thing. None of us do.
I cried in the bathroom at work after reading a Facebook post from a gay friend about how he doesn’t know if he should wait to be stoned to death in the street or if he should just put a gun in his own mouth. Text message to same has so far not been answered, but he has posted de-escalated thoughts following that one. I hope he’s going to be okay.
I cried on my drive home thinking about how TIRED I am. And how furious. And how sad. And how frankly LONELY, looking through my Facebook feed at Bible College friends who have the unmitigated gall to GLOAT. And in that same set of tears, I cried knowing that my prayers as I went to sleep (the first time) last night were answered with either a “no” or an “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” I’m not sure which is worse to imagine. God is good. God is kind. God and I have some talking to do.
But… (And I swear that every word of this is true.)
I also cried on my way to work. Because on my way to work, I stopped for gas and a car pulled in while I was still pumping fuel. The car was sputtering–the driver was on fumes, running out of gas, and pulled up on the other side of my same pump. A young, African-American man got out of the car and asked if I had a couple of dollars I could give him for “a gallon of gas.”
“Sorry man, all I’ve got is my card and the last time I paid for someone else to put gas in their car, my bank thought it was ‘suspicious’ and froze my card.” He asked if since he was right there, could I just put a gallon in his car–he needed to get from Florissant to Chesterfield for work and was desperate. “Yeah…I can do that. But Chesterfield…you’re going to need more than a gallon, and you’re going to need to get back…” And I filled his tank. Because it was the right thing to do.
I didn’t ask the guy for his life story or to convince me that he really did need it…but while we stood there, he volunteered it. I just stood and listened. The pump stopped and we talked a little longer. And at the end of it, he was shaking and visibly emotional. We hugged, he thanked me profusely, and we went our separate ways.
I am not intending to toot my own horn in saying any of this… I am simply saying that I am a white, cisgendered, middle class man. I have never known real struggle. I live a life of privilege that I do not even recognize is there, and that I often pretend I am the exception to–“but a cop pulled ME over too!!!” I am flawed, entitled, ugly, and self-righteous. But as long as people who look like me remember that we still have the power to do what is right… There is still hope.
And on my way to work, and as I wrote this post, I cried out for hope to win.