I’m in love!
Oh, don’t get too excited. I’m not in love with anyone I’ve actually met. . .or am likely to meet. This love is a secret love, which is something juicy for me to savor. I’m not telling many people and definitely not telling members of my congregation. They are very kind to me, but I think they would find this love of mine polarizing.
Yes, that’s right, I’m in love with a politician. A candidate, actually. A candidate for President. And I can’t tell ANYONE! I want to shout my love from the rooftops, proclaim it in the pulpit, but I also don’t want the IRS breathing down my neck. I feel very strange being in this position. I used to love politics. As a kid, I made my own campaign buttons out of card stock and contact paper. But the last few years, politics has been so stressful, so filled with vitriol and betrayal and power grabbing that I just haven’t been able to bear participating.
I got married not long after the 2000 election. I was in counseling at the time, dealing with my own ambivalence about getting married, addressing my inability to deal with ambiguity, actually, and I remember feeling like it was such a cosmic joke that our entire country was having to deal with the ambiguity of not knowing our rightful President-elect. The pain of waiting, of not being sure, seemed to underscore my own confusion about who I was in relation to my work at the time, and to my fiancé, of course.
We all know what happened next, of course. Again, fates aligned. Our national train wreck mirrored my own marital train wreck. The President’s grab for authority undermined the Constitution, and my overwork at church undermined my relationship. As the war got more and more brutal and endless, so did fights between my husband and me. I felt trapped on a highway headed to Hopelesstown.
And then, one day, my husband left. The pain was awful, wrenching, but freeing too, in a way. I picked myself up, got back in therapy, reconnected with friends, picked up the knitting needles, adopted a dog. I began to heal.
And then I fell in love. I “met” him first at the 2004 Democratic Convention, while I was still married. He was young, dynamic, spoke words of hope that shot sparks right into my heart. I remember thinking, “Wow. I wish HE was running for president.” And now he is, and his words still shoot sparks and I begin to think that perhaps the Apocalypse will be delayed a few years now. After all, even his opponent is someone I trust, someone I’d like to get to know, someone who might be a mentor.
I’d love to be able to explore this in church. I’d love to be able to wonder about whether one candidate’s positions can point us closer to the Kingdom of God. I’d like to be able to ask whether anyone else is feeling the same things I’m feeling. Am I just over reacting? Am I being suckered in by words crafted to seduce, or is this feeling connected to a genuine movement, genuine hope?
In the meantime, I’ll sleep in a T-shirt with his name emblazoned on it, play music videos made in his honor over and over again, and embrace the spring in my step fueled by my little secret.