This is Chloe G’s second post here at HFG. You can read her first, “Living Caesura”, here. Chloe G is a culture broker from Minneapolis who specializes in languages and cross cultural bridges. She enjoys running, reading, and contemplating.
I know, you’ve probably heard this before . . .
But I can’t help it.
Tomorrow’s Election Day. And all over Facebook, there’s ranting, raving, and fear, “if so-and-so doesn’t get elected, the country is doomed,” et cetera, et cetera. Here’s the thing. You should absolutely vote. Voting is essential to our country’s well-being. No matter who you vote for, there have been far too many sacrifices from men and women to not use our right to vote. It’s like throwing away leftover peas on your plate when there are starving children in Kenya. We should not waste what we have been given.
And who you vote for matters of course and we should try to vote for people we believe in, not just against someone we don’t. It’s important to be informed and to know what you’re saying with your vote, and be prepared to live with the consequences.
But. But. BUT… the president will not be the one to change the world. He (or someday perhaps she) certainly has influence and authority. The president deserves our respect, whoever wins, because it is a terribly brave thing to sign up for a job where people love to hate you, no matter what you do or don’t do.
But, if you really want to change the world, you’re going to have to do more than vote. Voting for one person or the other isn’t going to matter in the grandest of schemes. If you want to make the world a better place, you have to start with you. Ghandi’s quote about being the change we hope to see in the world is so terribly overused, that I think we forget what it would really mean to be the change we want to see in the world.
Want to know a great place to start? I mean, I assume you’re here because you’re hunting for God, and whenever we find God, the world is absolutely changed. Guess where to look? God is sitting right next to you. Down your street. Next door. In the checkout line at the grocery store. Two cubicles over. On the corner of Broadway and Central. At every school, hospital, jail in the world.
Christine Pohl says that we can really only offer hospitality if we embrace the fact that we ourselves are strangers. Every awkward glance between us and someone else provides us with an opportunity to expand our souls. We cannot make room for God in our lives until we make room for others.
Recently, I was walking downtown, and I saw a Muslim woman walking with her family. I looked her in the eyes and smiled warmly. She looked back at me and mouthed the words “Thank you.”
We are the ones who change the world. Not the president. Go vote, but instead of worrying about who wins, offer some soup to someone hungry. Take time to hear the real answer to the “how are you?” greeting. Listen carefully to what isn’t always being said out loud. Because we are the agents of change in our world.