Spoilers for Frozen II
There has not been a time in recent memory where being an American was as terrifying as it is on this election day. With over 232,000 COVID deaths, LGBTQ rights on the precipice of being gutted, Black men being gunned down in the middle of the road, uterus-owners continuing to be the occupants but not owners of their bodies, children parentless in cages, and stark political divisions pitting neighbor against neighbor, I find myself feeling marooned in my American identity. Whatever happens tonight or, more likely, in the days and weeks to come, I fear we will still be left in the remnants of the Disunited States for months and years to come. There is a deep and vast hopelessness I feel in the very pit of me while writing this.
A few weeks ago, in a Facebook conversation on COVID, a Christian I went to church with flippantly suggested that I simply have more faith in God. I know it was flippant because she included that emoji of a woman flipping her hair after she said “Have more faith in God.” This is another example of the Christian-ese we speak with dripping tongues when we face something scary. Hear me say, I’m a staunch believer that faith is important, having trust in something greater is the only thing that drags me, kicking and screaming, through the darkness of each day. But it’s a little empty when your ability to exist as a human is threatened like so many people stand poised to now. It’s a little daunting when you’re standing in a desert for forty years waiting for some miraculous promised land to appear.
I am also a believer that truth does not come only from sources with the Church’s broad stamp of approval. We can find little miracles of grace, overwhelming calls to justice, and broad evidence of God in anything the Creator had a finger in making, which if you believe in any form of Genesis, is everything we experience. I want to pull today from the book of 2nd Frozen.
At the end of the movie, we see Princess Anna curled in a ball inside a dark cave after the death of both her sister Elsa and her best friend Olaf. She utters the heartbreaking refrain “Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb.” I’m writing to you now from beside her. I feel hopeless, and not just about the election, but about the state of life itself, that so much of my ability to exist in the world depends on other people. That so much happiness can be sourced from another person; that so much pain and heartbreak can too. I feel overwhelmed at the currents I find myself drowning beneath, and the future that I am not yet in. How much longer do I have to walk through a desert before I can taste the sweetness of honey? How many more callouses must I bloody my souls with before I’m allowed to sit and rest?
Anna does not lay there forever, though. Her first act of resistance is to stand, and I love the way she lays out how we can keep going when everything is telling us to succomb:
I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thingKristen Anderson-Lopez / Robert Lopez copyright Walt Disney Music Company
This is my election night message to you, America. No matter your aisle, no matter your identity, no matter war, unrest, or peace, when you are presented with your next opportunity, make the right choice. Do what is loving, seek what is just.
There is immense power that other people have over you. You can be fired from your job, broken up with, cheated on. You can have your marriage invalidated, your body erased, your autonomy decimated. You can be robbed and beaten, threatened. You can be killed. But you can always choose the next right thing.
You can wake up and get dressed. You can be as kind as possible to your classmates, your spouse, your coworkers, your neighbors. You can choose to cling to that tiny and fierce hope in making a better world. You can cry and embrace your fear. You can love.
Stumble, eyes open or shut, unsure or certain, bloody or intact, towards that great light which calls us to make Heaven here on Earth. I believe that presidents and congressional members matter. I believe that they have the power to make my life a living and dying hell. I also believe in my power to make the world one degree better each day I refuse to give up, to open doors for those shut out, to gasp with my dying breath into the leathered boot of oppression stepping into my neck.
And no man can take that away from me.
Bryce Van Vleet is the author of Tired Pages which can be purchased here. You can support him by clicking through blog posts or donating (scroll to the bottom of the page). Like him on Facebook or follow him on Goodreads.
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