Over the past four years I have grown weary, seeing how our nation has been breathing a kind of spiritual/emotional air pollution. We’ve been inhaling a smog of toxic attitudes that may have slowly destroyed our spirits. With the results of this election now becoming apparent, it feels like the Spirit’s wind has blown away the pollutants so that we can breathe clean air again.
The metaphor makes sense when I think of “air” as attention. For whatever reasons—there are a host of them—our society has had no other choice than to pay attention to the consistently malodorous exhalations of this president. He has craved our attention and done whatever he could to garner it. Without much prompting, we have responded by doing just that: Hanging on his every word and action. Whether agreeing or disagreeing, we’ve breathed in what he breathed out. We have lived in an atmosphere that has not been good for our bodies, minds or souls.
This psychological and spiritual respiration has been unhealthy. Little by little, our culture’s values have splintered and fractured. Anxiety or anger have injured—or perhaps destroyed—our spirits. Any other varieties of attentional air have been sucked out of our rooms, leaving us gasping for perspective about what’s important, helpful or righteous. Our institutions and relationships have been contaminated with the poison of one man’s persona.
But now renewed optimism, clear-headed vision, focused empathy and life-restoring forgiveness seem possible again. We can now pay more careful attention to those qualities of well-being that have gone fallow, withered, been ignored or seemed impossible. We can take up the sacred calling of restoring life-giving oxygen to the nation’s soul. Prayers answered, we can look ahead with hope.
We can breathe clean air.
NOTE: I wrote and posted today’s blog well in advance of the election’s results, in what I hoped might be a prescient prayer for the future of this nation. I am grateful that what I hoped has begun to come to pass.