On Memento Mori and Courage for Tomorrow

Hello again, dear Readers! I know I dropped off the face of the earth after my two Star Wars posts, but as I mentioned in an earlier post in October, I have a good reason for that! Together with my younger sister Katie (who now manages this blog’s Instagram account), I worked the early voting polls in my state for nine 10-hour days.

I thought about composing a post all about the experience, but I think I can sum it up in a paragraph. It was enlightening, educational, and exhausting. I interacted with an average of 500 people a day (quite a challenge for this introvert!) and walked 3 miles (or more) every day. I learned how to manage the voter records and registrar computers. I met some of the rudest, cruelest people you can imagine…but some of the sweetest and kindest, as well.

That’s my experience in a nutshell at the early voting polls. Which leads me to point straight at the elephant in the room…

The presidential election is tomorrow. 

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

I haven’t talked politics on this blog this entire election season. I rarely address it on my social media, and I don’t intend to get into the unpleasant details now. But it would be foolish to pretend it isn’t raging over our heads, or that we aren’t all a little bit nervous about what will happen this week.

Scratch that: we’re not “a little bit nervous.” I’d venture to say we’re all terrified.

This realization that we’re all dealing with fear occupied my thoughts this past weekend. Not only was I preoccupied with the intimidating headlines, but it was Halloween–a source of genuine, paralyzing terror for me as a child. I couldn’t bear the sight of all those jack-o-lanterns, witches, and tombstones when I was little. I still don’t like the ghoulish aspects of it.

But this year I’ve approached Halloween with a much different perspective. Chalk it up to my two-year obsession with Church history and the Liturgical Calendar, haha. Halloween is now All Hallows’ Eve in my own personal reckoning: the first day of Hallowtide, a three-day period of remembrance and thanksgiving for the saints who’ve gone before us. A holiday like that is bound to conjure up images of death and judgment…but in its proper context (and with proper reverence), this isn’t a bad thing.

Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

Lent and Hallowtide are like bookends. They remind us, at the beginning and the end of the year, of memento mori: “Remember you must die.” From dust we came, and to dust we shall return. Yet for those of us who are in Christ, this world–extravagantly wonderful as it is–is not our home. Our Bridegroom waits for us in a mansion of His own building, and while we journey towards it, a great cloud of known and unknown witnesses cheer us on.

One of the things I love best about the Liturgical Calendar is that I get timely reminders all year long to either 1) remember I must die or 2) rejoice evermore. In just a few short weeks, we’ll be singing “Joy the World” again. But during Hallowtide we think of the final judgment and eternal bliss.

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for All Saints’ Day (November 1)

How does this connect to the presidential election? Well, in light of Hallowtide, Advent, and Christmas, the Presidential Election of 2020 feels a little less weighty–at least for me. Yes, it concerns all of us. Yes, we should get out and vote if that’s what our conscience dictates–and in the name of all that is good and holy, we should be kind and respectful towards our poll workers and fellow citizens as we stand in line to cast that vote!

But if your preferred presidential candidate does not win, will it be the end of the world? In the eternal scheme of things, do we serve an Elephant, a Donkey…or the Lamb of God? Do we obsess over the election and make ourselves ill with fear…or do we remember that Christians throughout the ages have suffered far worse things than Democrats or Republicans, and persevered in spite of them?

National unrest, unpleasant debates, COVID-19, toilet paper shortages, smothering masks, and our own personal anxieties–these are afflictions. But in the blinding light of eternity, they are also momentary. Remember who is really on the Throne. Remember you are surrounded by a great cloud of brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and eagerly watch as you fight the good fight. Remember you must die…but rejoice evermore.


A quick note before you go: I’ll be taking a break from Facebook, Twitter, and my personal Instagram until the first day of Advent (November 29). I’ve also decided to update the blog every other Monday from now on. Hopefully this new schedule will not only help me make significant progress on my stories, but also the time and space to write even better articles for this blog. And remember, if you ever need to contact me outside of Facebook or Twitter before Advent, you can always 1) DM me on my blog’s Instagram or 2) use the contact form here on the blog.

See y’all on the 16th!

{Header Image by Shane Rounce on Unsplash}

 

5 thoughts on “On Memento Mori and Courage for Tomorrow

  1. Excellent post. This country has been through decades of elections, it has never been “the end of the world” yet… America will survive whomever wins the election and in four years, we’ll have another one and start this cycle all over again. Trust in God is the only stability in life.

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    1. “This country has been through decades of elections, it has never been ‘the end of the world’ yet…Trust in God is the only stability in life.” Thank you SO much for saying this, Charity! There’s so much comfort in both these truths!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this post. ❤ You summed up the peacefulness that both Ash Wednesday and Hallowtide have always brought me, as a Catholic: it's good to get a reminder that we're only here temporarily, but also good to be reminded we have nothing to fear.

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    1. It’s amazing to me how the phrase, “We’re only here temporarily,” can bring either extreme terror or extreme comfort–and it all depends on where you’ve placed your trust. Memento Mori sounds really gloomy UNLESS you realize…”Oh wait, all I really have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to me. And I know what I must do: I must do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. Not only that, but this world is my ship but not my home (thank yoooooouuuuuu, Therese of Lisieux), so I don’t have to cling so closely to it. I should definitely pray for the welfare of my city, but America is not the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God is not America. What a relief.”

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  3. Very well said! ❤ I have decided not to worry about the outcome. It won't do any good, and I have to preserve emotional energy for things that really matter, haha. We'll be ok!

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