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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

what really matters

My polling place here in Virginia opened at 6:00 a.m. and I didn't want to miss work, so I woke up at 5:45 this morning, walked half a mile, and was in line to vote by 6:05 a.m. When I complained last night about the early wake-up, Frank teased me: "It's your civic duty." Thanks, hon. But I remembered his comment the next morning. I'm exercising my rights as an American, I thought, and that sustained me through the walk, the cold, and the hour-long wait for my turn to vote.

Then I went home to make breakfast for Serena, who slept over at my house last night. Several months ago I found a nail salon that offers $35 mani-pedis (I know!) and yesterday we finally made it over there, after which we had dinner at what is now my new favorite sports bar. We discovered it by accident; we were standing outside, deliberating over where to go for dinner, when a waiter stuck his head out the door and said, "Just so you know, ladies, we have 49-cent wings and half-off burgers tonight." That settled it. Wings and burgers for girls' night! The waiter's name was Anthony, as we discovered since he served us and became our new best friend, pretty much. This place also had the Eagles game on, which allowed me to boast shamelessly to Frank that I was watching football without him even being there. So, you know, major bonus points (for me and the sports bar), and I'm definitely going back.

Anyway, although I was excited about voting this morning, I could not be happier that election season is finally going to be over. People are just kind of obnoxious before an election, you know? My newsfeed is crammed with judgmental Facebook statuses and snarky comments - coming from both sides, too. Part of me wishes people would just stop posting their political opinions, but the truth is, it's not the opinions that bother me - it's the reducing of the other side to a two-dimensional caricature. There are valid reasons to vote either way in the election, and as much as I have strong opinions in one direction, I don't think that those who vote differently are stupid or bad people. I sure don't like it when they think that of me, anyway.

A few months ago I signed up to have the daily Scripture readings for Mass sent to my inbox every morning, and I was curious what the readings would be today. Somehow they always seem to go really well with whatever is going on in my life. Here's what I found this morning, from Phillippians 2:5-11::

"Brothers and sisters: Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Pretty appropriate to Election Day, if you think about it. Both sides are like "We want power!!!" and God is like "Ha, nice try."

I thought about that reading in the context of the election. Genuine power comes with loving service - "obedient to death" - rather than from the puffed-up pageantry and empty rhetoric of politicians. The power of God has outlasted governments much older and mightier than ours.

The things that really matter in our lives - little things like going out for burgers with friends and bigger things like loving our family and worshipping God - aren't going to change because of one election. In the big ol' grand scheme of things, our American government, and this election in particular, are of little to no importance.

It was really comforting to think all that and to put this political hoopla in perspective. But I'm still wearing my lucky red skirt and scarf today, just in case. ;)

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