I won’t be watching tonight’s Presidential Debate. Oh, it’s not because I don’t care deeply about the election. Nor, is it because I don’t care about what the candidates have to say. I won’t be watching tonight’s Presidential Debate precisely because I do care. I care deeply about this election and what it will mean for the future of the country. I care so much that my anxiety about tonight’s debate is at an all time high.
So, I got to thinking about the debate and my anxiety and how I need to respond. The truth is, I already know the candidate for whom I will be voting. I also know that nothing that happens in tonight’s debate is going to change my vote. Now, for those who haven’t made up their minds I encourage them, by all means, to watch and listen openly and carefully. It’s just that I know that watching tonight’s debate, while it won’t change my mind, will raise my anxiety even further. And, I just don’t need that for my health and emotional well-being, or for my family’s peace of mind, and I certainly don’t need to add any more negative energy to the cosmos.
Instead, I’m going to spend my evening in silence, in peace, and in prayer. I’m going to be praying for tonight’s debate, that it will be free from vitriol and ugliness, that the Holy Spirit will fill the space where the debate is taking place so that the candidates and the moderator will be able to do their best. I am going to pray that those who are present at the debate and the countless people in our country who will be watching will be moved to register and to vote in the coming election. I’m going to pray that everyone will be open minded as they listen to the candidates respond to questions and that they will carefully discern who it is they will support and vote for President of the United States on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Robert Benson, in his book, Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, tells of a Hebrew tradition, “a story told of the thirty-six who are faithful—so faithful, in fact, that God refuses to have the world come to an end as long as they are alive. It is their devotion that holds the world together. No one but God knows who they are; even they themselves do not know.” (p. 128)
Tonight, I am going to try and join the thirty-six and pray and discern and seek to be faithful, so that our world can continue to be held together. Oh, and by-the-way, I will also ask God to help me to continue to find ways to lower my anxiety about the coming election and yet keep me committed to action, and that the Holy Spirit will work in me to keep me from becoming complacent. I will ask God to help me to be open to those with whom I disagree, to listen carefully and thoughtfully to their views. And then, it is my hope, starting tonight, that between now and election day I will faithfully put peace out into the cosmos instead of unnecessary anxiety. May it be so.