The election was over when you discovered your candidate was dead. The guy who attracted birds and animals and people. The guy who could bring out the masses and feed them too. The guy who gave out free health care along with miracle cures. The guy who was a revolutionary and had a better way to run the nation and clean up the earth and taught techniques on how to deal with bullies and forgive your enemies.
For the first time since you can remember, there was a surge of positive energy in the land and it reflected the expectations within your own heart. His teachings shined against the world of corrupt leaders who used slave labor and abused women while they lived like kings stealing the little money you had for taxes so they could build more roads and walls to increase their personal wealth.
Now hope was gone because just about the time people were ready to elect him, right after you stood in the sun with your family and neighbors waiting for him to pass by, after your children waved their flags–er palm branches to welcome him and just after you pushed your way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of him making a triumphant entry, something ugly and mean spirited happened. He was betrayed and murdered.
When the night comes, you can’t sleep. Your memory searches for signs that the unthinkable would happen. Why hadn’t you seen before? Now that you think about it, his vehicle of choice did seem a little strange and archaic. Who announces their campaign on a donkey? Most conquerors ride a decorated war horse. And there was also that moment when he stopped and wept over the city he was about to enter, but at the time he just seemed to be in touch with the pain of the people. When he said he wished he could gather everyone under his wings like a mother hen, it seemed like a fitting metaphor for the free lunches and healthcare to come.
Hope had never shined so bright as that sunny day when he rode into town on the donkey, but now in less than a week, your hope was snuffed out by the evil men who plotted and killed him. And the worst of it was watching your neighbors and friends so quickly turn against him. Even now, alone in the black of night, you still shake your head and wonder why. When offered a choice, they voted for a corrupt man who only cared about himself and would do nothing for them.
Even after that first night, when the sun came up, you still couldn’t shake off the darkness. You are in mourning to think of what might have been. You avoid the neighbors and stay in the house all day. Once your candidate’s been murdered, there’s nothing left to say. Darkness hangs thick over the land–even at midday and even over those who betrayed him. Even nature seems to recognize a significant humanitarian has gone–the birds are silent and the air hangs stifling and heavy like a woolen coat on a hot day.
When night falls again, you resume tossing in your bed, wondering what will become of your family and neighbors. What dreams can you live for now? You sigh in the gloom as you say to yourself, day and night, night and day–who cares when such darkness covers the land? On this second night, you ponder the future of your children. You abhor the fact that all you do is work to survive while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
In your sleepless state, you cry out to God, but your tears have long been spent so you hoarsely plead for hope–something to hang onto to so you can feel like life is worth living again. Then something happens that changes everything. It won’t fix your income level or provide health care. There will be no promise of free food or childcare. In most ways nothing is changed, but in reality everything has changed.
Somewhere just as the dawn was breaking, as if adding insult to your pain, you feel the ground shake. As you lay swaying in your bed, first waiting to die, then staring at the walls in terror of what might happen to your children, peace whispers to your soul. It’s barely perceptible at first–like a flicker of a candle against the darkness of a cave. Then a chorus of birds begin to sing like nothing you’ve ever heard before. You get up to check on the children and when you look out the window, you noticed the dawn is brilliant pink and golden as though God himself is scribbling hope across the sky with the most radiant hues.
You have no knowledge of the good news yet–that will come later, but for now a new optimism is stirring your heart as you stare at the sky and say a little prayer of thanks for this shift in emotion. Such brilliance accented against the darkness seems in itself a miracle. One child has woken to cry, so you take her in your arms and gently rocked her back and forth while you whisper in her ear, “We’re gonna be alright.”