I make my living advising people on how to behave with dignity and move forward when they are experiencing great loss. Today, I feel a sense of loss that threatens my capacity to follow that advice.
I have often been accused of needing to be right. Today I find myself wishing desperately to be wrong.
The pain and shock of this presidential election still lives in me like a kick to the stomach. I cannot escape the thought that we have intentionally elected a man who seems to have contempt for women and minorities.
The dark side of me wants to lash out at everyone who voted for Donald Trump. I want to wish for horrible things to happen so that I can tell all the Trump voters just how wrong they are.
Then, another side of me creeps in, a part of me that wants to search for a higher purpose, some way to rise above the pain and to find grace and serenity. I am not sure if I am up to the task. The wound is still too raw and my ego seems mortally wounded.
When I am working with a divorcing client, I often counsel them on ways to find a way to set aside their pain and find a higher purpose. I try to coach them to focus on the love of their children and to somehow find a way to call on that love to inspire them toward unselfish actions. Today I am needed to fight hard to take some of my own medicine. Will my love of my country somehow give me the ability to face this loss with grace? I pray that it will.
One of the things I have always loved about our nation is how we lose with grace. I admired the recent concessions speeches of John McCain and Mitt Romney, and I admire the speech that Hillary Clinton was somehow able to give today. That is what makes our country great.
On the other hand, it is painfully sad when we let our bitterness and divisiveness outweigh our desire to do the right thing. When Obama won the first time, Republican leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time in announcing their intention to make sure that President Obama failed in his first term. I understand Mr. McConnell’s temptation. I feel the same deep desire regarding Mr. Trump’ presidency. In some ways, thoughts of Trump failures feel like salve to my wounds. I can readily fantasize a long line of “I Told You So Speeches” to every Trump supporter I know. Am I capable to being better than that? What bothered me about McConnell’s statement is that he was, in effect, wishing bad fortune on our country. I just can’t let myself do that. To wish bad events for our nation is to turn our back on the people who truly need us to be our best.
I can’t honestly say that I have this sense of reconciliation in my heart. Not yet. It is still too soon. The hurt is still too raw and the desire to lash out is still too great. However, if I start by identifying a higher purpose, maybe I will, over time, find the strength to look past these unfortunate events.
Donald Trump likes to call people losers. Today, I am one of those losers. I suppose we are all losers at times, even Mr. Trump. In many ways, our nation was formed and reshaped by “losers” who could not be discouraged.
In the end, it is how we handle loss that sets us apart. I hope that the people that supported Hillary Clinton, including me, can find a way to set a new standard on how to face loss with dignity and to work hard to help us truly become a better people.