Tag Archives: President

Is it Your Lucky Day?

 

I went to the library the other day. I needed a book to help me escape, to “not think”, a place to go other than the political news shows and the internet.  I wanted to laugh.

I walk into the library and ask the woman at the front desk…”I need a fun book, where should I look?”  She pointed me over to the newer best sellers.  I saw books about politics and Steve Jobs and ….ugh.  I knew she didn’t get what I meant.  I started to feel a little lost and then she shouted out…”Oh, a YLD book came in!”  I didn’t know who she was talking to so I asked, “excuse me?” She said, “A YLD book came in!” with a big grin on her face.  I said, “What’s a YLD book?” and she said, “It means, it’s YOUR LUCKY DAY!!!! ”

Woo hoo!  My lucky day!  BRING IT!  She explained that these YLD books are never available and if they are, well then, no doubt about it…it’s your lucky day!

Honestly, I barely looked at the book.  I tore out my library card and tried to get out of there fast before someone tried to steal my book and ruin my lucky day.

Speaking of lucky days…Election Day is November 6th.

November 7th is going to be someone’s lucky day.

I know people are out there saying, “It’s not luck, so and so deserves to be president.”

I get it.  I have an opinion.  I care.  I feel strongly.  I will vote.  Then I will watch and count and try to figure out how my guy can win.  Then I will go to sleep and it will be fitful and anxious sleep.  I will be uncomfortable, flipping channels in my dreams, still counting, still wondering, still hoping.  In the morning we will know.  Maybe.  Or maybe there will be lawsuits and talk of hanging chads.  Oh, never mind, that’s the past…a different time, a different night (week? month?) of fitful sleep.

Here’s what I want to remember.  When we wake up that next morning or whenever we find out who won the presidential election…HALF of the country will be disappointed.

HALF.

50%.

This means your neighbor.

I repeat.  HALF of this country will be disappointed.  Either way.

I have said there are two Americas.

But I’ve thought about that now and I want to take it back.  There is one America.  And it’s beautiful and strong and I am so grateful to live here.  There is one America.

Your neighbor may vote for “the other guy”.  Your neighbor may have a yard sign you don’t like.  Your neighbor may not wave to you in the carpool line on Wednesday.  Your neighbor may have hoped and prayed the night before for the opposite of what you hoped and prayed for.  It’s okay.  She’s still your neighbor.

She’s still your neighbor…the one who brought you a casserole when you moved in.  The one who drove your kids to their activities when you were sick.  The neighbor who gives tirelessly at church or who runs the PTA.  This is your neighbor who you have known for 15 years and always thought was such a good mom and a good friend.  This is the neighbor who knows when to bring wine and when to bring chocolate and she usually shows up with both!  This is your friend.  You love her kids and her husband.  You admire how she handles working full time and raising a family.

Or maybe you don’t know her but have always wanted to.  Maybe she smiles at you when she walks the dog or keeps a beautiful garden that you’ve always admired.  Maybe she works at the coffee shop or the dry cleaner.  Maybe you just see her in passing but she’s friendly and kind.

Maybe she’s the mom that’s fought tirelessly for the kids with special needs.  Maybe your kids have benifitted from her advocacy.  Maybe she’s the teacher who took extra time to help your daughter or the parent who serves on the school board.

Maybe she’s the neighbor that came and sat with you when your mother died or when your child was sick.  Maybe she’s the person you call when you need a hand or a hammer or a cup of sugar.  Maybe she’s the one you call when you just need to talk.  Maybe she’s the friend who invited you to church.

Or maybe it’s your dad.  Your dad who has loved you since the day you were born.  Maybe he can’t even sleep he’s in such a tizzy about the election.  Maybe you are worried about his health.

Maybe it’s the military family down the road who lost a son in the war.  Or maybe it’s a mother whose son is away on active duty now and she is terrified and wants him home.

Maybe it’s your brother whose business has fallen on hard times.  He’s worried about payroll and health care benefits.  He’s trying to survive.

You get the point.  The list goes on.

We are all neighbors.  We are all Americans.

So, here’s my plan for November 7th … smile and wave at my neighbor…no matter who wins and no matter who she hoped would win…because I like her.  She’s a good person…a good American…and we need each other.

God bless my neighbor.  And God bless the United States of America.

 

Romans 13:9 “whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

(I love to throw that in wherever I can 🙂 It simplifies things for me when I start to get confused by the external noise. )

Here’s a video/song for fun.  Turn it up people.  Trust me.  Turn it up and remember…we are blessed.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
image of flag from google images and http://cajuncottage.blogspot.com/
youtube video by http://www.youtube.com/user/RavenReality
Picture of book by me.  My lucky day! courtesy of Thomas Ford Memorial Library 🙂

 

 

The Elephant in the Room…or is it a Donkey?

I have sat down to write something at least four different times today and I just keep hesitating.  There are many things I could write about but there is one thing on my mind.  The election.

Ugh.  Writing about the election is not what I want to do.  But how can I not?  The news and political shows are constantly on in my house.  The other day I was watching The McLaughlin Group.  It’s surreal to watch the McLaughlin Group now – my mom and dad always watched and the same people are on there!   They are still bright and witty and informed and argumentative, just much more wrinkly.  I was thinking, “Wow, these people have aged!” as if I haven’t.  I happened to watch it not in HD the other day and the show seemed like a relic from a bygone era.  Anyway, my point is, politics are not something I avoid.  I pay attention.  I’m interested.  Dare I say I actually enjoy election season?

I don’t enjoy the rudeness and the hateful attacks.  I asked my husband the other day, “Has it always been this bad?  It seems so mean spirited.”  And then I remembered taking the kids to the Lincoln museum in Springfield, Illinois and being amazed at the headlines from back in the day.  Politics have always been polarizing.  They have always involved name calling and personal attacks.  It’s sad but true.

My mom used to tell me, “The only thing new is the history you haven’t read.”

I’d like to say I’m above getting emotional about politics but I’m not.  I get mad.  I get frustrated.  I get anxious and worried.  I get annoyed.  I want to be even keeled and always kind and understanding of all sides but I’m not.  A friend told me something that makes me think…she said, “A strong negative reaction to other people is a lack of faith”.  Hmmm…I’ve been feeling a lot of strong, negative reactions with regards to the election.  Is this a faith crisis?

The other day I was getting extremely worked up and my friend posted this on facebook.  Just in time to save me from myself and my twitchy finger poised to make a defensive comment.

Amen?

Here’s my prayer tonight.  “Lord…I’m asking you to take away this feeling of anxiety and fear…is it fear, Lord?  Replace it with love.  Give me the gift of patience and understanding and faith.  Help me to be slow to anger and thoughtful with words.  Help me to build up, not tear down.  Give me strength and courage to promote ideas and optimism.  Help me to look at arguments or disagreements as opportunities to share grace and understanding.  This is tough Lord and this prayer is going long because I’m not sure I can do it.  I need some extra help to not get emotional and to not take things personally.  Only you know the master plan.  Only you know the future and you hold mine and I trust you.  Fill me up Lord with love and peace and light.  This country is the best place on earth to live Lord – we are so blessed.   Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you…Amen.”

This is serious stuff.  But we also need to laugh.  This one made me laugh.

It’s funny because it’s true.  We are human and  we have opinions and we get irritated and we want to be right.  But when it all boils down to it, we are brothers and sisters.  We are all loved by God.  Democrat or Republican or Independent or Tea Party…all loved…today, tomorrow and forever, regardless of who is in the White House.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
images from www.crosscards.com  and http://www.someecards.com/
 

 

 

History

My son asked me to take him to the Field Museum to see the 9/11 exhibit.  This is an interesting request from a 3rd grader.  I told him it will be sad.  He said, “I know Mom but I love to learn about history”. 

That’s where we are now.  9/11 is “history”.  I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.  My son wasn’t even born yet.  But when I went to the exhibit and saw all of the pictures, I was back there in the moment. 

“What was it like?” he asked.  And this is what I told him:

“It was like hell on earth.  It was terrifying and ugly and evil.  Before 9/11, no American could have even imagined the horror of that day.  No American could fathom that kind of evil.  When the first plane flew into the first tower we thought it was an accident.  There we were staring at our TV screens, being Americans, giving people the benefit of the doubt. 

Then there was another plane and then the towers fell.  When we started to understand what was happening, it was sickening.  I wanted to throw up.  It was fear and anxiety and doubt and sadness that I had never known. 

We prayed for the people who died, who lost loved ones, who were lost.  We prayed for fire fighters and policemen and religious leaders and the President.  We prayed for the children who lost parents and for the people who were alone.  We prayed for the people who jumped from windows and who were on the airplanes.  We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

We looked for heroes and we found them everywhere.  Firefighters went in knowing they would never come out.  They wrote notes to their families and put them in their lockers.  They walked into their own death with the hope of saving one person.  I will never look at them the same way again.  They define what is great in America.   

At first, the silence of the no fly zone was deafening.  We were freaked out, completely at a loss for what was going on, living in fear of another attack.  It changed everything.  All the people that work in the city came home to be with their families, afraid there may be another attack, maybe on Chicago this time.  We didn’t know what to expect.  All bets were off.  The world was an unpredictable place and we felt like a target. 

We couldn’t turn the TV off.  We were watching too much.  We were depressed by the images but felt compelled to watch.  We felt guilty for surviving, we felt angry, we were really, really mad. 

We all wanted to fight back.  We were a country united in defense of our ideals.  We were strong and certain and ready to defend.  The divisions came later.

We were a country of prayer and faith.  Newscasters prayed on TV and Congressmen prayed together on both sides of the aisle.  The President prayed and churches held special services.  We were looking death and fear and evil in the eye and we knew in no uncertain terms, this was too big for us to handle alone- we needed to call on our God to save us. 

Songs were written and sung to crowds that were weeping.  My favorite is by Alan Jackson, “Where were you (when the world stopped turning)?”

We changed that day.  Individually and collectively, we are different now.  We are scarred and tattered and battle weary.  But the worst the world had to offer was still no match for the best that we can be.  Never lose faith or hope in this great country.”

And then I told him, “You need to know history it’s true and you need to know His Story too.  Because in times when you are looking into the eyes of fear and evil, you can rest in the assurance that there is a God that loves you and even when things don’t make sense, you are not alone.”  

This prayer by Max Lucado helps articulate what I was feeling during those dark days. 

Dear Lord, 
 
We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, what a horrible dream.
 
But we won’t, will we Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.
 
There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)
 
We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t.
And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request it; we implore it.
 
We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories and now we plead, Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
 
Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.
 
Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.
 
And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
 
You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.
 
Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of Eternity was pierced.
 
And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.
 
But you did not waver, O Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.
 
We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.
 
And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and succeeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.
 
Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families. Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience. Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain. Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.
 
And look kindly upon your church. For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world.
 
Do it again, Lord. Do it again.
 
Through Christ, Amen.
 

I watched a television show recently about the people on the planes that flew into the towers. There was a husband who called home and told his wife he loved her and then he said, “I’ll see you when you get there.”  That just killed me.  He knew where he was going and he knew that she would join him someday.  That is our hope.  That is our faith. 

Of course, this is only part of the story.  There is so much more to tell about 9/11.  Over time, our children and our children’s children will learn the details of that day and its aftermath.  They are living in a post 9/11 world, trying to make sense of history and His story. 

When choosing a picture to accompany this post, my son suggested I use a picture of the new tower that’s being built at Ground Zero.  I thought that was a brilliant idea.  After all, we are people of hope and new beginnings.

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved