It's still settling in - Barack Obama is the next president of the United States! I'm listening to his acceptance speech as I write this. I'm moved by his words - he brings hope and vision to a country that is in need.
I couldn't stay awake on Tuesday night to watch the final results, but I felt good about going to bed when I knew that all Obama had to do was win California to become the next president of the USA. I felt confident in that news, and headed to bed, but then kept waking up throughout the night thinking "could it really be true?" And sure enough, it's true! It was confirmed for me, too, when my friend Rachel sent me a text page saying "Yay!!!" -- thanks, Rach :) Even though you woke me up, I'm glad you helped me rest more peacefully.
When I got up Wednesday morning, I was filled with excitement and pride. I brought a radio into the bathroom to be able to listen to NPR while showering. Most of what I was listening to reminded me of the above scripture from Ecclesiates. The words I heard coming from Obama brought tears to my eyes. I also heard an interview with an African American woman who is 109 years old and never believed she would see this day come. She was the daughter of a slave, and she spent the early years of her life in a country that permitted oppression and segregation. How incredible it must be for her to be alive today! How incredible for all of us!
Something else I heard on NPR referred to a young woman who refused to vote for Obama because he didn't put his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem. I did some reading about this, and the long and the short of it is that sometimes Obama puts his right hand over his heart and sometimes he doesn't. I don't fault Obama for doing this, and I recognize a plethora of bigger issues and factors that should have been considered in choosing where to cast your vote (fortunately millions of others thought so too). In fact, I firmly believe that if we're going to pledge our allegiance to anything or anyone, it should be to God and His Son... not to a flag or a single nation, but to the Father of ALL nations. Despite his own recent surge of controversy, I think Ray Boltz said it well in his song "Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."
I've spent a lot of time travelling all around the world and had several encounters with folks who aren't big fans of the USA. It's often been far from pleasant. I remember living in Spain and trying to hide the fact that I was an American, because I didn't want to face the negative attitudes and comments about our country.
After this monumental event in our country, a new sense of pride wells up inside of me. I'm excited to see how the world's perception of our nation and our leadership may change. I'm hopeful for the change that has been promised. I'm encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm that our new leadership brings to the table. I'm thankful for a leader who seeks to unite and not divide. I'm anxious to see how our foreign relations improve all over the world. And I look forward to a day when we won't be involved in war, and peace will be more of a reality.
To everything there IS a season and THIS is the season!