Last night, I didn’t attend an election party or sit glued to the TV watching a map turn red and blue. Uncertainty is especially hard for me, and by now in my life, I know how much I can handle. So, I spent the evening doing normal Tuesday night things. By about 9:30 though, I needed to know something. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the news I was hoping for.
I wanted Hillary Clinton to be our first woman president, but that wasn’t why I voted for her. From her tweets to her speeches to her very life itself, it seemed evident that her main goal was to make life better for others, for the people and populations she served. I know it’s a vague sentiment—making life better for others—but this outward focus of good is something that never seemed to be as important to the man who is going to be our next president. Instead, he focused on the idea of America becoming great again, as if there was some moment in the past when we were great but now we’ve somehow failed in the greatness department.
When I look at America, I see a country of people who are sometimes struggling and often afraid, but I also see a country of people who are doing the best they can in the best ways they know how. Like I am. Like my friends are. Like my family is—both the Clinton and Trump supporters alike.
I went outside this morning to rake leaves for tomorrow’s trash pick-up. The sky was blue, and the air was chilly. But the sun was warm. It was a perfect Minnesota fall day. As I was raking, I got a text from my mom in Indiana. I’ve been getting texts more frequently ever since my grandma went into the hospital a few days ago. This morning’s update was that she received another unit of blood, the third since she’d been there.
And in that moment, the result of the election didn’t seem to matter so much. I was worried about my grandma. I was scared of what could happen and why she needed all this blood. (Her doctors were still in the process of figuring out what was actually happening inside her body.) But more than that, I was thinking about the people who donated the blood she received—the people who felt the need to help someone they’d never met and do something good for this world.
I think about the famous John Wesley quotation: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
So, what was I doing? I always thought the “good” I was putting into the world was my writing—these blog posts, my books. And it is. But there’s so much more I can do. There’s so much more we all can do.
Today, I’m going to sign up to give blood like those wonderful people who donated the blood that’s now inside my grandma. And tomorrow, well, I don’t know yet. But it will be something. Because what makes us great is not our beliefs or policies or accomplishments. What makes us great is how we treat each other and how we make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. And the best part is, we don’t have to wait for someone in Washington to lead us back to our greatness or bestow this blessing upon us. It’s available to each of us, in every moment as soon as we ask the question: what can I do?
So, whatever we were yesterday, whoever we supported, let’s find the courage to set those labels aside and start seeing each other as people again. Then, let’s get out there.
And let’s do #allthegood.