Until 5:00 on Wednesday morning, I couldn't sleep, as I realized and ached over the results. My stomach twisted, my back was in knots and my head ached.
I don't want this post to sugarcoat anything that is happening, either. People will lose their rights as a result of Election Day. Innocents will die. The marginalized and oppressed that Jesus defends will lose voices that Obama's presidency had lent them, beginning with Trump's sexual assault victims.
The famous horror writer Stephen King (who, by the way, tweeted that Trump's victory is the greatest horror story yet) built his career on the idea that people fear the unknown most of all, and the uncertainty of a president with no political history naturally lends itself to the great fear of unpredictability.
But the lesson began Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when other sleepless friends across the country messaged me. Though separated by distance, we mourned with one another, outpouring encouragements and self-care tips: rest when you can, eat well, distract yourself with work, listen to beautiful music, surround yourself with friends.
So the next morning, on three hours of sleep, I had the privilege of performing with the Mississippi College Singers at a high school. It was a small performance, about fifteen minutes - but oh, the music. The music was beautiful, and no one can legislate away gorgeous music or the joy of its creation. I drove there with people who sympathized with my fears, and no one told me to calm down or get over it.
The rest of the day, and yesterday, consisted of work and classes as usual. A professor who strongly supported the candidate I loathed, asked if I needed the day off and encouraged me to rest if needed. I didn't, but the compassion struck me. It was a good day, filled with voice students who sang well and never fail to make me laugh.
Wednesday evening was church choir as usual. Many congregants share my fears, and we talked about it over delicious food. Again, no one rushed me to get over it or repress my feelings. And a fulfilling dinner with an affirming church won't be legislated away.
Thursday is my busiest day, but people who don't normally talk to me about politics expressed their support either on Facebook, on the phone, or on campus. By "support", I don't mean agreement with all my beliefs. These are people who voted for Trump, who attend churches that differ from mine, and they just reminded me of something I had forgotten.
Even if I lose rights, if my life is endangered by hateful men who feel further empowered to hurt women with a president who brags about assault, if healthcare is gutted and worst case scenarios all come to pass - there will be good conversations, meals, and beautiful music. There will be rest.
Racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other aspects of the Trump voter base are sins that I will never overlook. But since Tuesday, I have seen a great surge of love in the state perhaps most notorious for its hateful past. People speaking out against racism and homophobia, in my area and at the national level with groups like the ACLU and Democratic senators preparing to defend the rights of the marginalized. Locally, pastors who spread the word about their open doors and expand ministries to the disenfranchised.
Some say the country is divided beyond repair, yet people on both sides of the great divide love me, and I care deeply for people on both sides. I'm talking real love, not forced smiles or halfhearted platitudes, but sincere concern and acts of kindness.
As I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago, we dilute our sufferings with love, and that is holy. In the warm embrace of friends and the late-night texts of encouragement, God speaks still. In the worst case scenarios, in the midst of real pain, love will never stop speaking.