After a long and contentious political season it is good to pause for a moment,

take a deep, deep breath

and ponder the things for which we are grateful.

Here is my list today:

1. I am grateful to live in a land that is not torn asunder by war. And every day I must pray for peace for those lands that are being torn asunder. I can start - I must start - today.

2. I am grateful that there is nothing holding me back from doing all I can to reach out to those who feel afraid right now. Nothing. I can start - I must start - today.

3. I am grateful for democracy in all its loud and crazy messiness.

4. I am grateful for the church. Despite her sins and blind spots she has the potential to do so much good. And she can start - she must start - today.

5. I am grateful to live in a country where those who voted differently from one another can have civil conversations in an attempt to understand one another. There is nothing stopping me from doing this. I must reach out, ask questions, listen, learn, explain. It is part of what makes our country good. I can start - I must start - today.

6. I am grateful for the brave women who came before me and fought to give me and my daughters the right to vote and make our voices heard. I am grateful for the brave men and women - black and white - who fought to give my black friends and neighors the right to vote and have their voices heard.

7. I am grateful for Jesus' very clear directions for his followers: Love God. Love neighbor as you love yourself. Stop for the wounded on the side of the road, always. Give away your coat. Give away your shirt. Give away your food. Give away your life - all for the sake of others. Do not hate. Do not murder with your words or your thoughts. Do not give your allegiance to the empire, or to Caesar, or to the powers of this world. Live in the awesome power of humility and servanthood. Never use violence to solve anything. The answer to everything is love and grace. 

8. I am grateful that no matter who any of us voted for we can all begin today to reach across divides, across barriers, across ethnic and religious hurdles, across rivers, across languages, to seek reconciliation and common understanding, to offer a hand of peace and friendship, to lift up the burdened, to find ways to free the oppressed, to seek to welcome the weary refugee (its biblical, friends) and to have compassion for all people in the way that Jesus did and does.

9. I am grateful that nothing is stopping me (or you!) from doing any of these things. I can stop complaining and bemoaning the circumstances of the world around me and I can begin to be the change I long to see.

I can start - I must start - today.

Will you join me?