Heartbreak. All over America, people are talking of their heartbreak. On this day after the election of Donald Trump as our next president, many people feel as if some sort of joke has gone terribly wrong. Every other social media post I read, there is disbelief, consternation and despair. Parents talk of their children crying upon waking to the news this morning. And even now, the evening after the election, protestors have taken to the streets.
We judge each other, don’t we? We feel so strongly about this that we have thrown knives, heck… sometimes even flaming swords. We wonder how on earth anyone we call friend could possibly vote one way or the other. It’s all just one big heartbreak. But Friends, the day after an election does not hold a corner on the market of heartbreak. Every day those around us are falling apart, trying to make sense of their lives, wondering what the future holds.
On a global level, bad news hits us every day. Our black neighbors are shot and killed during traffic stops. City policemen are gunned down in retaliation. Young women are raped and left for dead on college campuses. Children are sold by their own parents as sex slaves. Refugee women stand in line for hours to get food for their hungry babies. Humanitarian workers are beheaded while trying to serve those in need.
And in our own homes: Our brother gets colon cancer. Our friend’s teenage son dies in a car accident. An old high school friend loses his job while trying to put two daughters through college. Our sister-in-law enters hospice. Our son is lost in his latest high. Our daughter gets pregnant during her senior year. Our husband admits his affair.
It’s tragic. All of it. The global issues and the local, right-in-our-home issues. If you’ve ever lived through any of the above scenarios you are fully aware that life can be devastatingly heartbreaking. You feel as if the air has been sucked out of your lungs and you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get out of bed again.
But I promise you, there is hope. How do I know this? Because I have tasted and seen it through this thing called love. One of my favorite lines of all time is from Les Miserables: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
And it seems to me, at a time like this, we could all stand to see the face of God. I wonder what would happen if we could turn toward His face rather than toward fear and trepidation of what is to come.
When my dad was about to breathe his last breath, I sang worship songs to him because it was the only way I knew we could truly connect in that moment. I was obviously stuck here on earth while he already had one foot in heaven. So I sang this:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Therein lies my hope now as well. To look full into His face. To allow the messy, ugly places of life to become dim so God’s glory, His beauty can bloom more fully. It means that the troubles we face now, while very real, do not have to own me, control me or have me living in fear. Instead I need not look far for those who are living with heartbreak so I can offer love and care to them, whether it’s within their angst over this election or any other grievous event. There is where we all win.