Joe Biden or Donald Trump will never visit me in my home, stand beside me at the funeral home or dance at my wedding. I will not be receiving any calls from either of them to pray for me during sickness or to check on how my children are doing. I probably will never sit in a room with them to visit, laugh and tell funny stories or just to hang out over a cup of coffee. I do not personally know either one. I welcome the opportunity to visit with either of them, but doubt it will happen.
I feel like I know them because I have seen them on television my entire life and heard them speak. I have been very emotional about them these last few months and felt very convicted about my vote. I have written words, spoken words and stood on the firing line for my candidate. Most importantly, I voted. I have also received my share of emails, and real mail from people just as adamant about their candidate, often expressed in very colorful words.
Sadly, over the last few months, I have seen people who I have known for many years, take as strong or stronger stance than I’ve taken. The distance between us has grown farther and the climate colder. Acquaintances, life-friends, school buddies and even family.
Both of our candidates have campaigned in their own and different ways. The issues have been heatedly debated and argued. As a nation, we have stressed ourselves to the max over these political candidates. And, while our vision for our nation has not changed, or our love and support for our preferred candidate has probably not dwindled, we must make a concerted effort to keep friends, family and the hopes and spirit of Thanksgiving alive.
As strongly as I feel about our nation and our leadership, I will not throw my friends and loved ones under the bus. My father was a Republican and my mother was a Democrat. They both voted and life went on. They were married for over 60 years. They did pretty well. They didn’t divorce over an election or politics. I do not remember them even arguing about an election.
This election was important to all of us, but I’m not going to stab my mother in the back or cut my father’s throat for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. By the same token, I have played sports with people all through school, sang in choirs, danced with friends, prayed and wept with people at hospitals and funerals, baptized thousands of young and old people alike. I’m not going to throw these people in the lake or smash somebody’s car. I am not going to try to destroy somebody’s business or life for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. Nor will I attend any Thanksgiving or other holiday meals refusing to be civil and gracious because of opposing political feelings and beliefs in the room. Why would any of us? For Joe Biden or Donald Trump?
I refuse to let this election kill Thanksgiving or any of the friendships and relationships that I share with real people in my life. Life, our friendships, our relationship with God and the personal work and service of being a good human being are most important to me.
Thanksgiving season is here. Life doesn’t always go our way, but we all have a lot to be thankful for this year. Keep this good season alive with gratitude. Most of all extend Thanksgiving to all others. If it’s not reciprocated, then it’s on them. Keep Thanksgiving alive in your heart.
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