The photo on the left may not seem like a miracle. Just some flower buds on a dried up branch. However, this photo is particularly unique. From my own garden, with my own camera, on a freezing fall day, I took this picture of a flowering red bud, which had no business flowering that day. God works miracles. He lives in the hearts of mankind who acknowledge Him, and He lives in the lives of those who don't recognize Him. A loving touch from a warm hand. A smile from a stranger. "Eureka!!!" in the chemist's lab. A new medication for the chronically ill. Lost children that are found. All these things are the fingertips of God upon the pulse of those whom He loves. And, quite frankly, I believe that God is in the voting booth.
After forty years of voting, I have seen my candidate take the oath of office...and spent the next four to eight years regretting that I pulled the lever. I have seen my candidate lose, and I have lived to bless the day that I was wrong. I've seen Presidents who have taken a dire turn out of indecision, and I have seen a President fail out of pride. I have wept tears of triumph, and I have shed tears of defeat. I have been wrong more than I have been right.
I have never been loyal to any one party. I have accepted the defeat of my chosen primary candidate, and then I have searched the heart of another, and found him to be true. I have always voted. I have never given up on this country; yet I have seen some ugly things. I hope and pray for the beautiful. I have met no saints; yet I have stood in the presence of holiness.
Today, I voted, again. My husband voted, as did my children. We stood in line...a short line, in our neck of the woods...but I would still be standing in line had the line run for miles. Voting. It is the single most important thing a person, in a free society, can do. One vote can move mountains. George Bush, in 2000, won by less than 300 votes. One vote on the Supreme Court stopped the recount. One vote. There are many other examples of how one person, literally, changed history.
Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. George Washington, who refused to be King, whether appointed or elected. One man. One woman. One King of Kings, Jesus Christ. If each of us is equal and important in the heart of God, then each vote matters. I would rather see my candidate lose, than to know that one person did not vote.
Yes, we've seen some ugly stuff, much of it inspiring me to vote for another. But the reason we vote is because we live in a free society! Not a good society, because we are mere men and women. But we are free.
My grandmother never voted. She told me, when I was fourteen years old. She hadn't voted, because women couldn't vote until Grandma was 36 years old. Why did she not run to the first election when she was eligible? She considered the Suffragettes "those ruffians."
"Grandma," I said. "I will vote in every election. I will always vote!" I have kept that promise, not to her, but to myself.
So, I voted today. I don't know who will be the next President of the United States. It doesn't matter who. It matters that I, and my children, and my husband, and anyone who reads this, who has voted, that we each took our stand. I cast my ballot. I voted. That's what you do in a free society.
So, if you will forgive a woman in the autumn of her life, for giving you advice, please VOTE. Don't be like my grandmother. To live the dream, is to cast a vote for what you believe. If your candidate doesn't win, well, there's another election in four years. If my candidate wins, and then disappoints me and everyone else, well, my gosh, there's another election in four years.
You see, it doesn't matter that you and I may disagree. What matters, is that we're in the same boat. It may leak, so we'd best start bailing, together. Go on. Go vote. And God bless you, as you bless America.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008