Election Day has come and gone. And while some outcomes are yet to be determined, one thing is certain. No matter the winner, the “stuff” of daily life continues to confront us. You’ve experienced that and so have I.
Election Day, 12 years ago, is a case in point. That was the day the first Black man was chosen by voters to become the primary resident of the White House. While Nov. 4, 2008, was a red-letter day for our nation, it was a rather blue day for me. That same day, my 82-year-old father passed away.
Looking back, the days following the election were a blur. While our nation readied itself for a peaceful transition of power, our family was consumed with the sorrowful transition that death demands. We had a husband, father, uncle and grandfather to memorialize and bury.
The evening news explained the role the Electoral College plays in formally electing our new leader. But I was not all that interested. The death of my dad found me still enrolled in another institution. The school of hard knocks and the assignments related to loss found me overwhelmed with more homework than I could have imagined.
But my situation is not unique. The “stuff of life” demands our attention long after races have been decided. No matter who offices in the West Wing or sits behind the Governor’s desk, we have issues to face every day that we alone must address. No wonder the first Tuesday of November pales in significance to the “choose days” that arrive with each sunrise.
Each day we make choices. Our “choose day” choices have far-reaching consequences. What we decide to do or not to do, to say or not to say, carry weight. Because our choices impact our immediate family, colleagues at work and those in our neighborhood, our choices are more influential than simply voting for a candidate.
Each day we vote for the kind of person we will be. We choose between trusting or doubting, loving or hating, offering forgiveness or choosing to retaliate, being generous or stingy, becoming engaged or choosing to be apathetic. Each day we have a choice to take a risk or take a pass.
If we see each day as a “choose day,” we aren’t limited to voting every two years or every four years. Instead, we are continually voting our conscience and taking a stand on what we believe to be right, just and fair.
We cast our ballots by standing with family members who are going through a painful divorce, walking alongside loved ones who are battling addictions, or sitting with friends who are grieving the death of a significant other. Electing to face the challenges that knock at our front door is a sign of maturity. It’s a tangible way to lead by example.
It is natural to be concerned about the kind of example those in Washington, D.C., are providing. Regardless of party affiliation, we expect respect, honesty and kindness. All the same, I’ve come to believe that what goes on in our homes matters even more than what takes place in the White House.
The values we embrace and the beliefs we practice have more of an impact than we might imagine. When integrity wears work clothes and interacts with those who are inclined to be dishonest or take ethical shortcuts, something happens. One choice makes another choice possible.
The kind of a world for which we long is the result of individuals like you and me putting feet to our faith and giving voice to our values in our spheres of influence. Do I have your vote?
Guest columnist Greg Asimakoupoulos is chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores in Mercer Island.