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After the election

First slide

I am writing this at 9:15 p.m. Nov. 7, 2020 — four days after the election.  Earlier today, Joe Biden was declared the winner of the Presidential Election. This news left some feeling exuberant, others feeling dismayed, and many glad to have some sort of resolution after a week of uncertainty. Though questions remain as to whether there truly is a resolution at this stage or whether a prolonged legal dispute is still on the horizon.  Regardless, one thing is true — there is nothing more we can do to impact the election. Our ballots have been cast and we must focus on moving forward. How can we best do this in a positive way?

Choose what you do with your time

For the last few days, many of us, myself included, have spent significantly more time in front of the television or online tracking the latest developments and updates on the election. While this is completely understandable, we also must consider the importance of balance. No matter the outcome of the election, there are still only 24 hours in a day. And we cannot simultaneously do two things at once. If we choose to go to the gym after work, we cannot also meet a friend for dinner at the same time. Both options are good, but we must choose one or the other. We cannot say yes to everything. Likewise, if we have been completely engrossed with the election this week, we may have chosen to spend time following the state-by-state updates rather than spend time connecting with friends or family. We must consider what we want to prioritize. If we have been spending more time with the remote control or our smartphones than with our families, we need to begin to disengage with the constant coverage of the election and instead focus on the people God has placed in our lives.

Focus on what you can do now

After a campaign filled with discord and animosity, there are wounds and division in our nation that need to heal. This would be true regardless of what candidate or party won the election. In many cases, we likely have found ourselves frustrated, angry, concerned or confused during the past months. But rather than dwell on things that are out of our control, we can look at the ways in which we can make a positive difference in our community. No matter who is in the White House, there are people who don’t have enough food to eat in our community. We can work to feed the hungry by volunteering to coordinate a food drive or working at a food pantry. Regardless of what party controls the House or Senate, there are people in our parishes and neighborhoods who are isolated, lonely or depressed. There are women experiencing crisis pregnancies. We can help comfort the afflicted by reaching out to those who are alone or supporting a pregnancy support ministry. Rather than allow ourselves to become increasingly frustrated by the actions of others or by those things outside of our control, we can choose to see the opportunity to do good that exists in front of us. By striving to show the love of Christ to those around us, we can promote healing and an increase in dignity and respect in our communities.

Horne director of clinical services for diocesan Catholic Charities.

Find out more

To make a teletherapy appointment with a Catholic Charities counselor, call 703/859-3147 or 703/447-9402.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020