Twas the Night Before the Election…

I am so thankful that tomorrow is Election Day, and that, come Wednesday, most people will be able to move forward, online and IRL relationships will be (hopefully) restored and normalcy returned.

This election cycle has really taken a toll on me. I don’t know if it’s really been that much more vitriolic, or if I’m just feeling it because I’m seeing things through a different lens this time around (and I’ve been alienated by many who liked me because I once held similar views to them).

The, mostly misguided, anger, the nastiness and the nit-picking (all of which I have been guilty of) have been beyond belief for the last 4 years. I’ve judged people and I’ve been judged. And I’m ready for it to be over.

This morning I read “Election Day Is Not a Vote Between Hades and Paradise” over at Deeper Story. So many excellent points are made, but it was the title that I’ve really chewed around on all day, because I honestly believe that there are people who DO believe that it is a vote for just those things. I’ve heard them proclaim just as much.

This belief is what has been at the core of my discomfort with the direction of this election. As a Christian, I’ve long believed that, while it is my duty to vote, whether my candidate wins or loses, God is in control.

I’ve also been told for a long time to vote according to God’s will.

But this time around I’ve wondered what that meant… Is it providing a safety net to others so that they can get back on their feet after being laid-off? Or is it allowing the super wealthy to keep as much of their self-made wealth as possible, and believe enough will trickle down to the rest of us to allow us to think we can get there with enough hard work?

Rather than making changes in ourselves, we’ve railed, pointed fingers and hated on others, and tried to convince everyone that our candidate is more Godly. When we put all of our hopes in one person, they are going to fall short. We live in fear, of a God who rails and smites, rather than living in the full glory of a God who is full of grace, second chances and longs for us all to see Him in the actions of others:

The actions we take to help the scared unwed pregnant girl after she makes the brave choice to keep her baby.
The actions we take to provide a warm place to sleep and a comforting word to the family who has lost everything.
The actions we take to ensure that everyone can get major medical help without having to declare bankruptcy.

Because I have been each of those people.

I was the unwed pregnant girl, who, out of fear, aborted her baby.
I, along with my ex, lost everything, was briefly homeless and had to get food stamps to support us as we got back on our feet. (We, thankfully, had friends and family who helped us, but not everyone does.)
I was one of those who, after a divorce, could not afford dental or health care for herself or her children and had to rely on medicaid for a season.

I don’t believe that either candidate has all the answers. I don’t believe that God has a party favorite. I don’t believe that He wants us to vote for one candidate over another, because every four years, we are voting for one flawed person against another flawed person. What He wants is for us to change.

For us to be moved enough to fill in the gap that EVERY flawed administration creates. That, is what ultimately matters.

photo credit from flickr

(Just Write)

New on LTLF

20110519-063749.jpg

Today we celebrated our first year of being a family. (If you are new here, I know that sounds weird, but just trust me…)

You can read more about it over on Living The Life Fantastic.

a cautionary blogging tale: is ignorance really bliss?

If you haven’t already, be sure to read the intro first.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

______________

Once upon a time, there was a blogger (Fantine), who had built a nice little home in the blogging meadow. She’d been through a rough period in her life and blogging had given her a spot to sort through it and figure things out.

She met many amazing, supportive women online; women who, like her, were raising small children or had already done that, and were willing to share their wisdom.

The internet meadow was beautiful.

Rainbows, sparkles, confetti and sunshine abounded.

One day, from out of the blogging forest, a blogger named BackStreet emerged. She was funny, charming and smart. They quickly became friends.

One conversation lead to another and soon, they were brainstorming names  and ideas for an online women’s magazine that BackStreet was wanting to start. Many play-date meetings took place at BackStreet’s home while they both worked hard on the magazine, hopeful that it would be a success and they would be set up in beautiful palaces within the Land of the Internets.

They knew they’d found their golden ticket.

For over a year, just about every waking hour was spent committed to seeing this happen. At the same time babies were nursed, children were schooled, babies were born, families were moved, dinners were prepared, sleep was back-burnered.

Early on, the discussion came up about making their partnership legal. After all, both of them had their fingerprints all over the project.

BackStreet said she would have her attorney draft papers that made Fantine a 50/50 partner, not just in name, but legally. They were both broke at the time, but Fantine completely trusted BackStreet, and was fine with waiting until it was financially feasible to have the papers drawn.

At some point, the decision was made that they would try to start a blogging conference to go along with the magazine. Earlier in the year, Fantine had met Fairy Godmother; someone who had a background in “the business”, and she introduced her to BackStreet as someone who might be able to advise or help them.

Despite the fact that Fantine started noticing less talk from BackStreet about “we” or “us” and more talk about “me” and “I” (clue 1) she focused on the goal, pushing aside concerns. She’d invested so much of her time and they were so close to making it.

Besides, BackStreet was her friend. She’d never had a friend like BackStreet. Ever.

Eventually, the conference went off very well [BackStreet and Fairy Godmother were the shining stars. (clue 2])

With the success of their mini-trial conference, the official one was on track for the following February, with the help of Fairy Godmother.

But conversations were happening  and decisions were being made without Fantine. There was a total disconnect between the public and private personas. (clue 3)

At the same time, crazy demands were being placed on her, followed by her loyalty and commitment being called into question.  The “we”s were starting to refer to BackStreet and Fairy Godmother… not BackStreet and Fantine. (clues 4, 5 and 6)

And so it continued.

Fantine was increasingly pushed aside, being moved further and further out of the picture. Having already invested so much into the projects and being so close to the goal, she struggled with what to do.

Fantine wrote up her thoughts on the pros and cons of walking away, so that she could talk with BackStreet.

After all, they were friends.

The conversation never happened. There was a confrontation on another issue; Fantine expressed her grievances, offered to stay through the conference and in the end, was told that, due to the grievances she’d expressed, she could not be trusted and that all she had ever been was “just an employee”.

Their working relationship ended that day. So did their friendship.

In the end, Fantine was shown something that shook her to the core: an email from earlier on in the project in which BackStreet stated she didn’t have any intention of having legal documents signed.

______________

So. There it is.

Even now, as I read this, I struggle with frustration. With anger. With jealousy.

All of this over a community whose mission statement was about empowering women. Helping them find their happiness.

I’ve struggled with the fact that from a business perspective, it happens every. flippin‘. day.

Every day, people make decisions that are “business, not personal”.

And this, apparently, was what my cautionary tale boiled down to from the outside.

Business.

So get over it.

But it’s not.

Because in the end, I think what I suffered with the most…

…even more than being stripped of something I’d invested an enormous amount of time and creativity into.

… even more than seeing the other person go on and get the praise, recognition and applause…

was the loss of so many other friendships.

People suddenly had no need for me. My twitter stream screamed with silence. My inbox sat nearly empty.

I experienced grief.

Mourning.

The very community that I was trying to help lift up and promote and empower turned their back on me for standing up for myself.

I made people uncomfortable just by my presence. So I was avoided.

No one wanted to reach out to me in public, for fear of ruining their own chances of success.

So, what the heck did I learn?

Where is the moral to all of this… my cautionary tale?

It’s this:

The moment you put your hopes and dreams into the hands of others, you screw yourself.

I gave all control over to someone else.

I take total ownership of that.

So much did I want this, that ultimately, I allowed my own dreams to become blended and co-opted by someone else. I helped make their dream come true while forsaking my own. I handed over control of my future and signed the check over to them.

I’m responsible for that.

Don’t do that to yourself.
Make your dreams your own.
Take charge of them.

Because honestly? I wouldn’t wish the last two years of trudging through this on anyone. Not even the other person involved. There is nothing pretty about it. No one likes a pity party. No one likes to be around someone who just sits in their own crap and misery.

So learn from me. Take my advice.

Do it your way. OWN IT.

*UPDATED: I have commented on the response to this post here*

(photo credit)

a cautionary blogging tale (Intro)

This time of year has been particularly difficult for me for a couple of years now. Anyone who watches my tweet stream can pretty much figure that out.

I get asked questions about this frequently, and so I’ve finally decided to share. Some people will call me mean-hearted and say I’m just looking for a catfight. Others may secretly nod, because they’ve been through something similar at some point. Still others already have a sense of what it’s about and will silently pray that I will finally move on.

I think on some levels, it makes people uncomfortable.

Holy heck! It makes me uncomfortable!

And honestly, I’ve struggled with how, and if, to share this story.

I’ve always looked at people who wallow and can’t get over something and half-pitied and half wanted to smack them.

But I’ve become that person. The one who can’t move on. Who can’t forgive. Who is bitter. Who is a victim.

I never wanted to be any of those people. I don’t want to be any of those people.

I’d already successfully dealt with that on a separate issue. And I’d tried to deal with this one, shortly after it happened. I have struggled with thoughts that I am the worst sort of Christian – the sort who points fingers and doesn’t examine themselves. A Pharisee.

So I’m going to tell my tale, once and for all. But I’m going to (try to) tell it, not as an exposé, but from a point of self-examination. A cautionary tale. Because, I think that in examining the situation more closely and trying to figure out why it hurt so much, I’ve come to an unexpected conclusion that surprised me. One that others might look at and realize that there is something in their own life that they need to side-step and move beyond.

All I’m trying to do is share, just like I once used to do. Some parts will be vague, for obvious reasons. Other parts will seem blatantly obvious. There is no other way to tell it.

Stay tuned…

(part 2)