Beyond Political Overload

In the matter of eating, my wife and I are true opposites. For her, it's the means to an end—fill the empty space and move on. A quick snack, and she's back into action. She can scarf down an entire meal while I'm buttering toast.

I assure you that my dear life partner is no ravenous lumberjack of a woman. She is petite, but quick; short, but swift. She does not linger over subtle nuances while a task is at hand. She would have been part of Gideon's army.

But consider her husband who savors food slowly and thoughtfully. Add some good conversation or a fine book, and mealtime is a mini-vacation.

Under a pressing deadline mealtime isn't so desirable. Force me to eat or drink at a frantic pace, and you have described overload.

A Cacophony of Voices

It's sort of like the final few weeks of this election year. A cacophony of voices will crescendo from now until November with competing messages on what and who is right or wrong. It's like trying to drink from a fire hose, or being force-fed a meal with no time to appreciate the ingredients.

This political smorgasbord has nearly persuaded me to get up and leave the table for some peace. But, instead, I'm increasingly intrigued with this opportunity to exercise choice. A vote is a choice. And when we avoid choices like this, we lose something that seldom returns. When we choose passivity over action or turn away from an opportunity to make a difference, we break a critical synapse that may never fire again.

Some Personal Choices

Truly the opportunity to vote carries far beyond this year's election. It's a chance to ponder other personal choices that we have deferred. What if we personally VOTED for the following?

Moving beyond destructive habits to a life of health and vitality.

Prioritizing our personal and church budgets to spend less on ourselves and more on others, less on in-reach and more on outreach.

Getting to really know our neighbors and love them as ourselves.

Praying rather than complaining.

Learning the names of the youth in our church and giving them personalized encouragement.

Spending an hour a week with an elderly person in our community or church.

Simplifying our lifestyles so that we have time and money for things of eternal value.

A vote is a decision that moves from intention to action—one step that sets a direction for the journey.

How does this all relate to the political season? I echo Gandhi's famous quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Rather than cursing the darkness, we can choose to shine a light.

Whatever your plans may be during this political season, make your first vote a personal one.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

September 01, 2008 / Let's Talk