This is how Charly made the bed this morning.
He doesn't know that I took a picture of his interesting arrangement of the pillows. But I'm pretty sure he won't mind if I share it with you. It's kind of different than the way I choose to arrange the pillows most mornings. But, we're on the same team. And it's ok, because he's the one who needed the pillows out of his way around the desk so he could work on his dissertation today. And a nice-looking pillow arrangement is just not that important to him.
There are lots of things we do differently, but we can still be on each other's side.
I think President Obama did a great job of modeling this in his post-election speech about his commitment to a smooth transition of leadership.
“It's no secret that the President-elect and I had some pretty significant differences...I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago and work as hard as we can to make sure this is a successful transition for the President-elect.”
“We are all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.”
"Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we're actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We're patriots first."
"We all want what's best for this country. That's what I heard in Mr. Trump's remarks last night. That's what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that. That's what the country needs -- a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other."
"I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition. I certainly hope that's how his presidency has a chance to begin.”
Obama compared the presidency to a relay race where the baton gets passed on to the next runner. “I want to make sure that hand-off is well-executed because ultimately we're all on the same team.”
I was also encouraged to hear the positive way Trump spoke about his gracious phone calls from Hillary and Bill Clinton after the election. And in his interview with 60 Minutes, after he had met Obama at the White House, he described him as “terrific.” “I found him to be very smart and very nice. Great sense of humor, as much as you can have a sense of humor talking about tough subjects.” When the topic came up about Trump supporters harassing minority groups across the country, he said, “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, 'Stop it.' If it helps, I will say this right to the cameras, 'Stop it.'”
Joshua told us about the Interfaith Prayer service at Notre Dame that he attended last night. A united campus effort to focus on peace for our nation, and to promote respect and solidarity during a time where division has become so evident. Charly and I were inspired to listen to Father Jenkins speech, beginning with his thoughts on the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman in John 4:
Jenkins told the crowd, “We now have elected leaders and we should pray for them and, as far as we can in accord with our principles, cooperate with them to serve the common good. We also pray for those holding opposing positions that they might continue to be engaged and that their voices continue to be heard. I do not want to minimize the very real differences in perspectives and principles that divide us. Yet I believe there is no peaceful, fruitful future for us except though the respectful, constructive dialogue that is so critical for a democracy.
“Dialogue, one can argue, is the central activity of any university community. We can disagree passionately, but we should not demean our opponents. We should state our convictions, but we should listen to all, and most attentively to those who do not share our views. It is the responsibility of each of us to foster a conversation that engages and enlightens, rather than descends to mutual recrimination,” Father Jenkins continued.
He stressed, “At Notre Dame, we must never allow any election cycle, law or policy to make us forget what we stand for.” Those things, he said, include respecting the dignity and worth of every person, committing to work toward the common good and standing in solidarity with every person, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized.
“That is Notre Dame. Either we walk together in mutual support, or we do not walk at all. Either we are all Notre Dame, or none of us are,” he said.
Such powerful words to consider as we try to walk together. On the same team with people who are very different from us. It is possible. And necessary for our nation in order to be able to move forward.
What if we could experience, as we reach across the divides, what Father Jenkins called "a spring of water gushing up to new possibilities, new hope and quenching a deeper thirst"?