You don’t have to have known me for long to know that I love to dance. Not too long ago I posted as my Facebook status, “Not every pastor has the moves like Jagger.” One of my favorite things about officiating for weddings is the chance to dance with my wife at the reception. And my wife will tell you that I really don’t care how silly I look when I dance.
I feel like dancing today—dancing with relief, and joy, and abandon—because Barack Obama, the candidate I supported in our presidential election, won. I truly believe he sets the best course for our nation’s future and that our nation will honestly be better off under his leadership. But I recognize that not everyone feels that way. Not everyone feels like dancing. 48 percent of our electorate, in fact.
In response to them, I could spend time writing about how Obama’s policies to this point have been just slightly to the left of Bob Dole. I could reflect on, as others have, how he is essentially what used to be known as a moderate Republican (for instance, he gets an A rating from the gun lobby; his healthcare proposals emphasize individual responsibility and were first proposed by The Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney; he bent over backwards to make concessions to Congressional Republicans leading up to the debt ceiling standoff; and he has continued the two wars started by his predecessor). I could lament the ramping up of rhetoric that has convinced Obama’s opponents that he is somehow the very embodiment of evil, who is bent on destroying our country. And I could talk about how I myself have been unfair to candidates present and past with whose policies I’ve disagreed (yes, it’s true…)
But instead I want to talk about dancing. The mystic poet Rumi wrote:
Dance, when you’re broken open
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off
Dance, in the middle of the fighting
Dance, in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.
It hurts to have your candidate lose. I know. I’ve been there before. The anxiety about the future can be overwhelming. It can feel like the bandage has been ripped off, like you’ve been broken open. On days like that, it can be helpful to put your trust in the Lord of the Dance: the One whose life was devoted to the embodiment of love. When you put your trust in the Lord of the Dance, maybe you can remember that life will in fact go on—and that perfect freedom has nothing to do with the victory or loss of any political candidate and everything to do with remembering our fundamental connection to one another as children of God.