Godspeed for those ballots and for a dear one who passed on

President* Trump,

Before we left the house to deliver our ballots to the official drop box nearest us, I did something I’ve never ever done before – I kissed the envelope and wished it godspeed. I’m realizing now that I should have kissed Laura’s too as I was holding both of them while she grabbed her coat. I’ve also never before double-checked my voter registration card to make sure that I signed the outer envelope correctly (did I include my middle name or initial or did I not?), but I sure as heck did this time. I’ve also never been so grateful that I actually kept that card and could actually find it as I was last night when we finished up with our ballots and got them situated in their (optional, for us) security sleeves and envelopes. Hopefully someday we’ll look back on all this angsty crap around voting in 2020 and be relieved that voting is no longer so fraught and the stakes are no longer so life or death, but right now it all feels incredibly heavy and scary with mistakes potentially so costly.

My brother texted this afternoon and said he’d filled out is ballot and accidentally marked your name instead of Biden’s. I immediately texted back to see if he’d fixed it but then realized he was almost certainly kidding, which he confirmed a minute later. Not funny. At all.

The weirdly low-drama exercise of sending our ballots on their way was unsettling. There weren’t massive lines of people waiting to make their deposits (there was a nice steady trickle, though) and there wasn’t a loud thunderclap or angels trumpeting from on high when Laura slipped them into the box as seemed appropriate to the moment. Instead we gave each other nice smiles and thumbs ups as she set out to walk home while I drove home (she’s become an intrepid walker, having logged at least 900 walking miles since COVID hit and the gym became unavailable). And still and yet, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this ballot drop off any time soon.

The other memorable thing about today was attending my first Zoom memorial service. A beloved church elder passed away several weeks ago and a whole big bunch of us gathered virtually to honor him. The stories about this Don were so warm and heartfelt that I was tearful off and on throughout and had a hard time holding my voice steady when I tried to read Laura things from the chat. This Don was basically a saint and his smile genuinely felt like sunbeams warming you on a cold day. Plus, even though I’ve been attending Zoom church services every Sunday since March, it was something all together different to get to see individual people sharing their remembrances of Don. The heaviness of missing everyone hit me so much harder than I even knew was there, and my worry that some of the other elders might pass before we are able to gather safely again is now front and center.

What a cruel time we are in right now.

And what a time for love and grace to break through like it did today. I absolutely wish that Don were still among us, beaming his smile generously out to everyone. However, in true Don fashion, his passing ended up being something of a gift to the community in that we were able to spend nearly two hours reminiscing about someone who personified Love and whose example gently challenges us all to be kinder and more generous with one another.

May we all be safe to cherish the saints among us.
May we all be willing to be broken open by love.
May we all have the strength of character to be kind and generous.
May we accept our mortality so that we can make wise, affirming life choices.

Tracy Simpson

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