Today I woke at 5am to vote. All of my children are home from school today and I wanted to get to the polls before my husband left for work. I arrived at my precinct at 5:45am and the parking lot was already filling up. A line was wrapped around the church and the lawn was lined with political signs representing all sides. It was still dark out. We waited together wearing ball caps, sweats, and blue jeans, our coffee cups in hand. Promptly at 6am, a young man yelled out, The Polls Are Open!
When we got into the main room the energy was palpable. The vibe was phenomenal. I thought about how the media captures the division, the corruption, the negativity, and the games, but it doesn’t capture this: Americans coming together, amidst our differences, to take part in this incredible gift we have of voting, of choosing a leader. Whether we actually like those polarizing leaders or not is another issue, ha! But, putting my conspiracy theories and cynicism aside, I must admit that whoever wins this insane election, I do feel honored and blessed to be a part of this crazy, diverse, wild country.
The church where I vote is right across the street from the ocean, so I walked down to watch the sunrise. The dolphins were skimming the water’s surface and the seagulls were camped out on the shore. I waited about ten minutes before the sun finally emerged from the horizon. We’ve been studying the poetic book of Ecclesiastes for the past few months and I thought of these verses:
“The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be
there is nothing new under
I suppose these verses sound a bit dim, but I find them grounding and refreshing amidst the catastrophic media messages. There is nothing new under the sun. Patterns repeat in history and humanity just as they repeat in nature. What is happening in our country at this point in time is new, and it’s not. I feel like the only really secure thing to fall back on is faith, which is so apolitical.
Here’s a gorgeous Pablo Neruda poem to close with, which reminded me of the ocean this morning. We men, touch the water, struggling and hoping…the waves tell the firm coast: Everything will be fulfilled.
ODE TO HOPE by Pablo Neruda
at the center
of my life,
waves like grapes,
the sky’s solitude,
you fill me
the complete sea,
the undiminished sky,
sea foam’s white
the orange earth,
gifts and talents,
birds soaring into their dreams,
and the sea, the sea,
chorus of rich, resonant salt,
touch the water,
we touch the sea,
And the waves tell the firm coast:
‘Everything will be fulfilled.’
HAPPY ELECTION DAY.