Nov. 12, 2008: National election was "blessed" event

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To The Editor:
As I sat transfixed in my recliner until after 1 a.m. on election night seeking to absorb the joy and light and pride and hope on the hundreds of thousands of beautiful human faces rejoicing in New York, Chicago, California and around the world, I was also seeking my own word or words for this indeed transformational moment and time.
One word for me is “Blessed,” and Barack means “Blessed” in the Kenyan Kiswahili language. Several Jewish friends have also told me it means Blessed in Hebrew and my daughter, who was in the Peace Corps in Morocco, says Barack means Blessed in Arabic.
For me, this state of being blessed is demonstrated by acting and speaking in peace, truth, joy and love. There is no hate and no fear. And whoever or whatever is “Blessed” becomes a catalyst to awaken these qualities within each of us. These qualities are profoundly deep and real. They are at the core of our beings and have often been layered with illusions of superficial and material things that we think bring us peace, joy and love.
What I’m feeling today is a deep sense of awe, gratitude and also a responsibility to put this blessing into action in my life and in the world the best way possible. I feel the sense of responsibility that godparents do, when asked to help raise their godchild with reverence for these qualities of Spirit. We need to teach them to listen; to share; to respect all forms of life; to love one another and to give their gifts to others and the world.
Though a blessing may be bestowed in one brief moment, it challenges us to ‘pay it forward’ in every moment of our lives from then on. After hearing Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I felt ‘called’ to share this blessing with all the children of the world and the child within each of us. It is not just “all about US,” the US of A. We are part of a global community and we need to acknowledge and honor this reality. Our updated imperative might be “Ask not what the world can do for you, but what you can do for the world.”
Another friend just forwarded me a letter from Alice Walker to President Elect Obama. In it she too shares her feelings of being empowered to do good. I don’t believe the conscious people of our country are looking to Barack Obama to save us, but to hear, inspire and empower us. Collectively we are a nation that cares for our own and others in the world. Endless humanitarian efforts attest to this, though recent administrations have done little to support them. The faces I saw in those crowds on election night were empowered and inspired. Within two days people I knew right here in the Margaretville area decided to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Another gave up smoking! At a fundraising auction I was at for The Open Eye Theater Sunday people were more generous and giving than I’ve witnessed in years. Spirits are overflowing though pocketbooks might not be.
May this sense of blessing continue to unfold and reveal itself in ever expanding ways. And as grateful as I am for one catalyst of transformation who is Barack Obama, may we realize that indeed, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

Gail Lennstrom,
Margaretville