How Deep is Your Love: I Really Need to Know

I didn’t intend this post to be based on a Bee Gees song. Really, I didn’t. But that was the first thing that popped into my head when I was trying to come up with a title. And it seems fitting.

The last two days have been brutal. This is on top of an already brutal, seemingly endless, presidential campaign. The rhetoric was so mean-spirited, the debates so bitter, and the stories so vile, that I couldn’t wait for the campaign to be over. But now we have a winner and it hasn’t helped. In fact, it feels like we’ve only just begun (and suddenly we have a Carpenter’s song reference as well). There are protests, both here and abroad. And people are even more deeply divided. Peace, it seems, is even further away than before.

Personally, since Tuesday night I have been filled with anxiety and sadness, worrying especially for the safety of my loved ones and neighbors who are different, whether by race, nationality, religion, sexuality, ability, economic class, etc. I have worried about women and other survivors who saw our president-elect joke about sexual assault. I have grieved that a man who was endorsed by the KKK was elected to our highest office.

I didn’t know what to do with my pain. First, I prayed, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? Isn’t that what I’ve been trained to do? Isn’t that what I teach others to do? If you’re in pain, go to God. So I did. And that helped for a little bit.

A timely reminder that we are deeply loved
A timely reminder that we are deeply loved

Then I decided to get creative, because isn’t that another healthy way to channel your pain? Isn’t that what art therapy is about? Isn’t that how many of the world’s great art pieces were created? I began to work on some new hand-stamped jewelry. Since this involved hammering things, it was somewhat cathartic. I focused on hammering out the phrase, “Deeply Loved.” As many of you know, it’s a phrase that holds great meaning for me, and it seemed to fit this moment in time; no matter what, we all need to remember we are deeply loved by God. Then, perhaps, we can begin to express that deep love to others, even those with whom we disagree.

And that helped. For a little bit.

But little by little, my grief turned to anger. I wanted my friends and family who were celebrating the election outcome to know my pain. More so, I wanted them to feel my pain, and understand it. I wanted them to recognize this was not a time to celebrate. I wanted them to know how angry I was. Perhaps, then, they would see that I was right. So I logged on to Facebook and called out a few of them, trying to engage in debate.

But that didn’t help. Not even a little bit. In fact, it just made me feel worse.

And so I started fresh this morning with yoga and deep breathing and prayer. I kept coming back to that phrase, “deeply loved.” I sat in silence and held up the people who, like me, are feeling great pain right now. We need to know we are deeply loved by God. Then I held up the people who, unlike me, are celebrating. They need to know they are deeply loved by God.

Did you catch that? We need to know. They need to know. We. Them.

Us. Them.

Us versus them. Them versus us.

That’s been the problem all along. We are at this place in history because we have this mindset of us versus them. The campaign season certainly proved that; you were either for the right candidate or you weren’t. So it’s no wonder the election results are creating an even deeper divide between us and them. If we keep up like this, we’re in big trouble.

The real issue is that the election results point to deep pain and fear in our nation. It’s pain and fear that they experience, so it is remote. I don’t understand it, so I don’t have to identify with it. Thus, it’s no wonder I’m surprised when it wells up to the point of over flowing and I can’t contain it and it really becomes an issue for me. Similarly, they don’t understand my pain, and thus don’t identify with it. No wonder we’re not getting anywhere.

That’s why I think the phrase deeply loved is vital to this conversation of what is going on in our country and in our world. In order to come together as a nation, we need first to meet at the place of our common truth: we all – in equal measure – are deeply loved by God. We were all – in equal measure – created by God, in the image of God, to live in community with God and each other. And we all – in equal measure – need God’s deep love to enter into our individual circumstances, stories, and pain. We need that deep love to transform the divisions in our families, neighborhoods, states, and country.

That’s what I’m starting to understand. And I started to think I could just go back to my friends and family members on Facebook and share this message of deep love and feel I had done my part to heal this divide. But then I realized it wouldn’t work if I shared this message with the idea that I was doing them a favor; as if I knew more than they did and was blessing them with my wisdom.

That wouldn’t help. Not even a little bit, since it would only perpetuate the whole us versus them thing.

Instead, I need to see this moment as an opportunity to sit down with one person who disagrees with me; to use that time to listen – really listen – to that person’s stories and pain and hopes and fears. I need to connect. If we can do that well, such listening and connection may even lead to true relationship. And suddenly, before we know it, we will be living out God’s deep love as it was meant: in holy communion that is stronger than – but finds joy and wisdom in – our differences.

And so I will try. I will try to step out of my grief and pain long enough to reach out to someone I disagree with. I will set aside my arguments and need to be validated and I will listen to whatever that person has to say. I will sit long and often enough to forge a true connection. Perhaps, over time, I’ll be able to share my own stories and questions. But either way, I will seek to embody and receive and recognize God’s deep love in this person with whom I disagree.

It’s not much. But it might help even a little bit.

How deep is your love? I really need to know.

9 Responses to How Deep is Your Love: I Really Need to Know

  1. We are all deeply loved by our Father in heaven! There is no one better than the other. There is no us or them it is all of us.
    In Kairos Prison Ministry we are taught to pray for all, not just those we consider worthy.

  2. Thank you for the reminder that WE are. And that as a community of believers and non-believers, Republicans and Democrats, women and men, etc., that at our core we all love and yearn and care and laugh and cry and worry and want…… There is so much more that joins us than separates us. Time will remove the hateful political rhetoric that is embedded in our brain and the ruminations will cease. We as a whole will be restored, I pray, to a community that cares deeply for all – as our loving savior and god has done for us. Right now, it can’t come fast enough, for the pain is real, the divisions are deep, and the sadness is profound. Hope never fails.

    • Thank you for this message. I have been grieving and yes even crying about the outcome of this election and the terrible losses I fear and fears for our country.

      I am angry with people that I know and love for their votes that were opposite to mine. I will try to listen to some of my friends. I know we all love God and want the best for our country and for the world.

  3. Well said. I’ve been concerned by much of the rhetoric on Facebook that demonizes those who voted for the President-Elect. There have certainly been horrible things said, and dreadful people who have supported him. But I don’t think that every single person who voted for him are full of hatred and racism. I suspect many voted with their wallets (more empty than in years previous) and many voted out of fear of the changes our country is going through. I live in an area where most people are very liberal and never talk to someone on “the other side”. Having a cup of coffee with someone who voted the other way and really listening is probably the most healing thing we could take on right now. That, and prayer. I am wrestling with God right now over “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” But that really is what we are called to do.

  4. Copied from yesterday’s post at The Daily Jot. Hope this helps.

    11.9.16 Clexit

    Several analysts characterized Donald Trump’s presidential victory as similar to the recent Brexit vote where Great Britain rejected globalism and left the European Union. Perhaps the Trump victory should be characterized as Clexit—the mass exit of the American people from the Clinton brand of morally bankrupt and corrupt politics. According to exit polls, some 80% of evangelical Christians turned out with a strong vote for now President-elect Trump. The Wall Street Journal reports that born-again Christians voted for Trump in numbers larger than they supported the Republican presidential candidates in the past three elections. This proves the power of Christian’s in this nation when they move in unity.

    Clearly, American Christians sent a message to those who call evil good and good evil: that we are not going to take it anymore. The demeaning of Israel with the elevation of her enemies; the possibility of a Supreme Court bending our laws against life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the loss of our jobs and dignity to globalism; unsecured borders; massive crime; race-baiting; bribery; socialist health care; Islamic terrorism; the disrespecting of God in the public square; the destruction of marriage—are the sum of the parts that equaled the whole result of this election. Christians stepped up and voted for the imperfect candidate to save the country from one of the most evil agendas in our history.

    Now that we have seen how God can work though us when we are obedient; how prayer and action is honored, may the hope of unity found in Ephesians 4:14-16 be our mantle going forward: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supply, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, make increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

    You see, we have our work cut out for us. We have bought some time. There are only promises of a better, more righteous future for our nation. We must hold accountability—not the type of accountability of judgment and condemnation to our fellow citizens who disagree with us and are blinded by the god of this world, but the accountability of the standard of Christ in whom we believe and are disciples. From Supreme Court appointments to the treatment of Israel to freedom of religion, we must stand in the gap and make the hedge. We must be ever vigilant that our nation is fully advantaged by the mercy our Lord has bestowed upon us. Let us continue to pray, act, repent, and seek the Lord that he may forgive our sin and heal our land. Happy Clexit!

  5. I hope this is a safe place to share my thoughts and my feelings but who knows it seems being “offended” is a status these days. I understand the grief you talk about I have felt it since the last election I felt fear anxiety anger just like so many of you express. i think it is embarresing either of these two people can even be on a ballot. I did not know if I could even get out of bed thinking what would happen if the election went the other way. I do know I would not of been in the streets protesting not going to class or encouraging others to rebel like I see happening. Trump is offensive but I don’t think half of what I am reading would EVER happen I realize my fears are exactly the same as yours. We pick and choose what we want to see on either side of the election. Many if not the majority don’t agree with much of what Trump has said but given a choice it seems the lesser of two evils. I think Mrs Clinton is every bit the negative others see in Trump

    • Melinda –

      Thank you so much for sharing your comments. Above all else I want this to be a safe place to share your thoughts and feelings. We are all praying for our country and our leaders. No matter, we trust in a God of peace and love!

      Peace,
      Kristen

  6. Even though I was disappointed in the election, I am not surprised. So many of friends and relatives were for the other side. One hundred days before the election my husband and I had a late night heated discussion which left us feeling stupid. After prayer & reflection I announced on my Facebook page that “ugly” posts toward the President & his wife and either candidate was no longer acceptable on my page and would be “hidden” and not circulated. I also provided a scriptural countdown each day till the Election Day. You know who got the most out of the exercise.