Sifting through what’s left, post-election

Published 2:44 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When I was a kid, I loved playing in the sand at the beach. It was fun to search for treasures, like shells, in the sugar-white sand.

I had a bucket, along with a sifter thing and a net that I used to separate the shells from the sand. I’d scoop up a bucket or fill a net with sand and shake the net or pour sand through the sifter.

Then I sorted through what was left until only the most prized treasures remained. I’d pile my discoveries in my bucket to take home as reminders of a beautiful day at the beach and the joy I felt sitting by the water.

As the nation headed to the polls to vote after the most stressful presidential campaign in my lifetime, recalling those reminders of that peaceful, serene time felt good. I will admit anxiety reared its ugly head in my life a lot in the months leading up to this election.

Sunday morning was one of those times so I flipped on the television mostly as a distraction. What I heard made me think and helped me release some of those anxious feelings.

In an interview, Glennon Doyle Melton, activist, author and speaker, used the example of a child sifting through sand to describe what experiencing a crisis did for her life. She said when crisis comes it forces us to sift through the piles of anxiety and pain to find the treasure that remains.

After living through the pain of two major crisis events in her life, what she found was faith, hope and love remained.

“Those are things that can’t be taken from me,” she said.

This election for many of us felt like a life crisis. It felt personal because of some of the issues and comments. They reawakened sleeping emotions that I didn’t’ want to bring back to life.

However, the only way to move forward is to wake up, to see the things that are still there. We have to acknowledge the past pain to set ourselves free.

I think that is true for our country as well. We have to be willing to see that we still have a way to go when it comes to equality for all of us. We still have lessons to learn when it comes to tolerance and to being accepting of those who are different from us.

For kindness to be how we live, we have to look at the ways we are unkind, and take responsibility for our participation. We must sift through the ideas that separate us to find the many things that we have in common.

When this column appears in the newspaper, Election Day will be over and, hopefully, we will have a new president chosen by the majority of American voters. Maybe, we can then breathe a collective sigh and rest for a while from the constant controversy that we’ve lived with for months.

There was something else I heard Sunday that struck a cord with me. It spoke to what is the truth under the sand of crisis that finds its way into our lives.

If we continue to sift, we find not only what is left, but also who is left. And “who” Ms. Melton found, I think, is the truth we find if we take the time to look, the time to find space and silence so we see and hear clearly.

Buried beneath the sands of the world, underneath human created stress, who remains is not a person just plugging through life. Who is left when we each sift and search and see is a spark of the divine, a child of God, the one energy of creation moving through the world as each individual life.

So now, it is left to us, no matter the election results, to sift through what divides us to find in our hearts the treasures of faith, hope and love that unite us and will always remain with us.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.