I wrote a post-election blog piece two days ago. It was all about building bridges, making amends, being big enough to reach across the aisle with kindness and an open heart. Of course, all rhetoric aside, it was predicated on a Hillary win. I could afford to be magnanimous from a position of power.
Now that same post—which did not mention anyone by name—is pointing a finger back to me, asking me to rise to the occasion. In this moment, I don’t know if I have it in me. I don’t know what I need to do. But I know I can’t do it alone. I know I need your voices, your strength and goodwill. I need wisdom and a way to move forward with dignity and grace.
Here is how my original post began. I need to hear it now more than ever.
In the old Cherokee legend, a grandfather teaches his grandson about life. “There is a fight going on inside me,” says the grandfather. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is kind, generous, thoughtful, and hopeful. The other wolf is angry, resentful, arrogant and greedy.”
The grandson’s eyes widen and he asks his grandfather, “which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee smiles, “the one you feed.”
The election is over. We have been feeding the angry wolf for months, even years now, until we have become a nation bloated by anger, resentment, greed and arrogance. We pitted ourselves against one another, throwing sticks and stones across a widening divide, losing touch with all that unites us.
If we keep feeding the angry wolf, it will huff and puff and take down “a house divided against itself.”
It is time to feed the kind wolf–because what we share burrows deeper than what divides. Because who we are and what we are capable of is bigger than our pettiness.
I am an optimist, but I’m also a realist. I am well aware that building bridges and mending fences will not be easy; it will not be quick. Yet, for our own survival, we must begin the work of feeding the kind wolf. Reach across the aisle in your own life; listen. We are all of us living in times of great uncertainty.
Our work now: to find and honor what we share. Because bigger even than the election is our opportunity to unite. What’s at stake is the fate of the earth and all her inhabitants.