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Love. Hope. Relief.

A few weeks ago, I went shopping with my mom and my aunt in Brown County, IN. It’s a small, quaint town straight out of a Hallmark movie with all the cute boutique shops that we love so much. We were in one of these stores and a picture caught my eye. It was by artist Seth Pitt (@theartofseth // www.theartofseth.com), and I just really loved it. Shout out to my aunt who ended up buying it for me as a gift for my new apartment.


The picture is a drawing of two scientists examining a scale. On one side of the scale is a big elephant. The other a little heart. And the kicker is, the heart is totally outweighing the elephant.


The scientists seemed puzzled as the elephant just sits there and smiles. And it struck me as funny and powerful. Because it’s saying that no matter what, no matter if you’re up against the biggest, heaviest challenges, love will always outweigh its opponents. Love will always be greater than.


Art by Seth Pitt. Insta: @theartofseth Website: www.theartofseth.com

For the past few months, and even the past several years, that hasn’t always rang true for me in our country. On that fateful day in 2016 when the 45th president was elected, that was a day where it felt like hate won. Ugliness won. Division won.


Well, not anymore.


About two weeks ago, America spoke and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected to be the next President and Vice President of the United States of America. And I breathed a sigh of relief for the first time in several years.


I haven’t written a blog post in a few weeks. To be honest, I’ve been very anxious. I’ve been stressed, scared, and sad about the election and what the outcome would mean for our nation and our world. As the election neared, I was having trouble focusing my energy on anything other than that. Writing about my own personal struggles or finding joy seemed antiquated in light of the revolution that was happening in the country. I didn’t really have the words, so I chose not to write them.


But now, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I can breathe because in this instance, love continued to remind us that it will outweigh even the heaviest of foes.


Unity outweighs division. Empathy outweighs selfishness. And decency outweighs hatred.


There’s still work to do. My goodness, there’s still a lot of work to do. But for the first time in exactly four years, I have a reason to hope.


I cried a lot as we waited for results to be called. Some tears have been remarkably similar to the ones I shed four years ago. Tears of shock and disgust that this many people in the world could still have hearts so full of hatred. But as the week went on and the true picture came to light, I started crying tears of joy.


And for this past week and a half, three words just keep circling in my head. Love. Hope. Relief.

I see love and feel joy again. I have hope in a system that I was fully losing my faith in. And I feel relieved that we’re going to get back to a sense of normalcy again. Of course, I know there is still plenty of work to be done. This isn’t over by a long shot, and hate and ugliness won’t go away quietly. But for now, hope and love have won. And that, my friends, is a blessed relief.


And it’s weird because this feels like a moment that everyone will ask about for years to come. Where were you when Biden won? Where were you when America elected their first female, African American, and South Asian individual to the office of Vice President? Where were you when the people restored some honor and integrity to the highest office in our land?


I was at home. Laying in my bed watching New Girl for the millionth time. I got the text from my mom that they called Pennsylvania and I immediately switched to news coverage. I turned it on right in time to hear Van Jones start his emotional speech. If you haven’t watched it, here you go, I’d encourage you to do so. It summed up everything I was feeling so well.


He starts by saying how much easier it is to be a parent today. He can go home and tell his kids that character, truth, decency, and compassion do matter. And when he talked about all the communities, from immigrants to people of color to LGBTQ individuals to women, who can now live in an America where the president isn’t openly and actively trying to harm them, that’s when I started to cry.


For the past four years, I haven’t really been proud to be American. There’s still plenty of stuff I’m not necessarily thrilled about. As a country, we have some serious flaws and we’re nowhere close to perfect. But now that the dangerous man who’s been living in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is on the way out, I think I can start feeling a little pride again.


Pride that our country is now heading in the right direction rather than moving backwards. Pride that our leaders will once again be educated, competent, and dedicated to actually helping the American people. Pride that love is growing and hate is continuing to be stomped out.


To say it’s been an exhausting four years is an absolute understatement. It’s been really hard to keep the faith. Really hard to believe in love and have hope in people. But we did it. We kept putting one foot in front of the other. We kept loving our neighbor even when the man in charge told us not to. We kept believing that good will triumph.


And today it did.


Today we get to rest and we get to celebrate. Tomorrow we’ll fight another day, we’ll keep fighting for the world we want to see rather than a world we’re content to settle for. But love took a step forward today. Today, love outweighed the elephant and proved to us all it’s still the most powerful thing in the world.


Love will always win. I’ve always had faith in that.


So I’ll leave you with the words our 46th President left us with in his victory speech. He shared the words of his own grandparents that he remembered growing up. His grandfather would always tell him “Joey, keep the faith.” And his grandmother would reply:


“No Joey, spread it.”


Friends, we kept the faith for a long time. I will always have faith in the goodness of people and the love you can show your fellow man. Now, who wants to spread that love and share that faith with me to every corner of the world?


Let’s get to work.


-ACB-


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