Her story is compelling. I sat captivated as she recounted the events that have brought her to where she is today, which is speaking to a women’s prayer group as a candidate for public office. It has been a long journey for her and her family. She has come a long way, literally leaving her homeland behind, eventually making this country her own. So now I find myself spending my day to day going door to door. The last time I went door to door, I was in grade school selling Girl Scout cookies. Being a well-known commodity, those cookies practically sold themselves. People were always glad to see me.
Today my door to door is drastically different from my childhood door to door experience. How much of that is the passage of time and how much is the difference in product or purpose, is hard to say. Much has changed, most notably doorbells. I am discovering that almost everyone now has one of those newfangled, high-tech doorbells that light up and play a tune. But they do much more than that. There are video doorbells that record the person on the porch and connect to the homeowners’ phones. Recently, when I rang a neighbor’s doorbell, they spoke to me even though they were not at home, instructing me where to leave the item I was delivering to them. I wonder if I appeared foolish to passersby, having an out loud conversation with a closed door and no one in sight? Didn’t they realize I was conversing with the doorbell? (like that’s less foolish looking)
Anyway, things have changed in the door to door world. There are more “beware of dog” signs, more “no trespassing” signs and more home security signs, alerting visitors that this house is monitored by a home security system. One house I walk by on my regular walking route announces out loud as I approach, “You are now being recorded” even though I have not left the sidewalk and will not do so as I walk past. (I wonder what it would say if I left the sidewalk and stepped on their grass? – I have never done such a thing, so I don’t know the answer to this very basic question) But I digress –
There is a reason I have reentered the door to door world after all this time. I am campaigning for the candidate whose story I heard recently. This would appear to be a futile, impossible effort for her, as her opponent has held this seat for the past fourteen years. However, this immigrant, now citizen, believes in the American dream because she has lived the Communist nightmare before coming here. If she can persevere, I figure I can too. And so I have begun knocking on doors on her behalf, the most uncomfortable of all things to do, especially when one is not bearing cookies. I do feel like I’m bearing good news though – that voters have a choice, a chance for change, someone new who loves the country who gave freedom and opportunity to her and her family – namely this country.
And so I go day to day, door to door, on her behalf. I never know what awaits me on the other side of each door, but I knock anyway (or ring the high-tech doorbell) and wait while wondering what each encounter will bring. Will I be met with friendliness, skepticism, interest, curiosity, apathy, indifference, hostility, openness, receptivity, concern, questions, or coldness – responses run the gamut where politics are involved. Sometimes I am shut out, other times, I’m actually invited in. Life is full of unexpected surprises. (ok – that was redundant – a surprise by definition is unexpected – if it was expected then it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it?)
Today is one of those perfect fall afternoons, having some of the warmth of summer with all of the colors of fall. Many people are out, so I don’t have to ring as many doorbells. Still, I think some Thin Mints would go a long way toward helping the conversation along. It’s awkward because what am I selling? a product? a person? Since in this case, the product is a person, the issue is especially confusing. What am I saying? offering? promising? – vote for this person and your life will get better? Really? Is that even possible? Politicians make us promises all the time. I think that is the definition of campaigning – making promises in order to get people to vote for you. Unfortunately, politicians are notorious for broken promises. Doesn’t matter the party affiliation – more promises are broken than are kept.
So what am I peddling door to door day to day? Hope? Possibility? The chance that a newcomer might do something different and change things for the better? I think so. Even after all the disappointments, we want to believe that the things that are wrong can be righted, that things can change for the better in the lives of average citizens with fair laws and just leadership. We do not give up hope. Every election is another chance, a fresh start. (or more of the same, if we keep electing the same people) But even as I campaign for this new to politics, immigrant candidate, I know that this is not where my ultimate, true hope lies. We can never put the unbearable burden of our hopes and dreams on another human being. None of us can bear up under that weight of the expectations of others. At some point we will disappoint others and we will be disappointed by others ourselves. It is inevitable as we are only human.
Nevertheless, I need to be able to hope in something or someone or life becomes meaningless. Proverbs 13:12 says,
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Lamentations 3:21-23 reminds me of this,
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
That’s where my true hope lies – not in another person, be it politician or pastor, but in my Heavenly Father. I can put my hope in Him because He is faithful, that is His character. Paul wrote to Timothy these words,
“if we are faithless, He (God) will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) I have this assurance from His word –
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
That’s why I can confidently put my hope in my Heavenly Father, because He is faithful and will not disappoint. Hebrews 10:23 says I can –
“hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful.”
So even as I go door to door peddling a portion of hope for our country by participating in the democratic process, I am keenly aware that my true, and your true, dear readers, ultimate hope for today and for all our tomorrows, lies with our Heavenly Father alone. I can trust Him. You can trust Him, too. He is faithful.
“I wait in hope for the Lord; He is my help and my shield. In Him my heart rejoices, for I trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon me, O Lord, even as I put my hope in You.” (Psalm 33:20-22)
sincerely, Grace Day