Written by Shelley Plett Tuesday, 11 November 2008 14:11
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, the courage to change
the things I can and the wisdom
to know the difference.”
—The Serenity Prayer
The election is over. Now it’s all over but the crying, or the cheering, depending on which way you cast your vote.
Either way, didn’t you feel a sense of control when you blackened the oval in your little booth? A healthy sense of power to wrap up a year of out of control campaigning. I’m glad it’s over and I hold out hope for better things.
I always considered myself an optimist. Even through the worst things that I’ve witnessed or gone through, I have always held onto a sense of “things will work alright out in the end.”
But do things always work out all right? Of course, the answer would have to be no, not always. They work themselves out, sure, but not always “all right.” And not always how we planned or at least imagined.
I rode the fence throughout this presidential election, not sure which way I would vote until a few days before I signed in. Even on that day I had some doubts. But I made my choice and felt pretty good about it.
When the results came in, my vote, while it counted, didn’t get my choice elected. But as I listened to the election night speeches, first the concession speech and then the acceptance speech, I felt better about it than I had in months. Neither of them delivered a guarantee of hope for the future, but they did deliver a sense of hope.
I suppose the need for resolution and control could be considered human nature. A sense of control brings a sense of balance. Balance is what gets us through the day. We try to balance every aspect of our lives. Our budgets, our time, our meals are all on the “to balance” lists we all carry around in our mind’s back pocket.
Maybe we should balance out that optimism, too. For our own protection, a little bit of cynicism may be a good thing. It would be simpler if we only had to worry about ourselves. But there are always others involved. And them, we can’t control. Not in the ways we’d like to.
Instead you dictate one thing and one thing only. Yourself. You can give someone what you think they need—like your vote—but you can’t make that person do what’s right for your situation.
But it doesn’t mean your effort wasn’t worth it. You went beyond a sense of control to actual control by taking action. And sometimes that has to be enough.