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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waiting for Results, Announcing Some Results -- If Only I Could Have Voted

Every time I've been out driving around hither and yon on errands and to appointments I have slapped my wheel and said, "Now why didn't I bring my camera?" Ohio's Fall Foliage is like a postcard everywhere you look, yes. But the foreground of the photo I would have taken and posted here would have shown a McCain sign facing the street at one house, and an Obama sign on the property right next to it.

That is pretty much par for the course around here where there are tons and TONS of signs, though truth be told the McCain signs outnumber the Obama ones probably two-to-one. I have no idea how much this Dayton suburbia reflects Ohio's neighborhoods in general. Or if the number of signs accurately portrays the number of voters for each candidate here. But if the polls are to believed then it's still not going to make a difference in the outcome of this election.

I am just sick, though. Sick, I tell you. Sick, sick, sick. Because I never received my absentee ballot from the state where I am registered. I received it for the primary, I know. But only belatedly have I realized that I never got it for the general election which means I never voted. How could I miss that? I don't know. I'm trying to remember what mailing address was on the last one -- it must have been our APO Box from Italy, because it would stand to reason that they never updated my mailing address to reflect the one in Ohio. And we have now passed the year mark for our time here and therefore exceeded the post office's statute for forwarding mail. I would like to say I'm certain I updated my address directly with the Texas voter registration powers-that-be. But quite honestly, I can't recall that for sure, either.

Sick, sick, sick.

My one consolation is that the state I'm registered to vote in is Texas, where the outcome should be a foregone conclusion. One little vote from little old Jolyn wouldn't make much of a difference there. But still. It is my right and my duty to vote, and I missed it.

I heard on the radio earlier today (I've mostly been avoiding the news since then.)(mostly.) that the number of registered Democrats showing up at the polls was outnumbering the registered Republicans by two-to-one in some places, even more in others. I could make some bad jokes in really poor taste here, but I'll stay serious and say that, if Obama does indeed win, the ones who didn't vote brought him into office just as surely as the ones who voted for him directly.

Unfortunately, that now includes me. Drat.

Did anyone else notice an overwhelming sense in the air today? This morning, before my day got busy, but just as it was getting underway, I felt a very real spiritual presence and it stopped me in my tracks. It very clearly came to me that it was the power of prayer, of thousands upon thousands of prayers being offered up in the face of this monumental election. I could feel it, so profoundly, in the room with me, and it was very calming. It reminded me what I already knew about this country, that we are a nation founded on the power and truth and will of God. And no matter the outcome of this election, He will not abandon us so long as we continue to seek Him. And I felt at peace.

The power to vote is important, yes. Vital, even, to a democracy. But the power of prayer will never leave us, long after the polls are closed and the winner announced. I have been told that it would take an Act of God for McCain to win, because he sure didn't make it happen on his own. I'm guess I'm saying that, whoever takes office, the power of prayer will still be there. And miracles do happen.


For as long as we've been married, John has aspired to join the military's foreign area officer program -- or whatever the nomenclature happens to be any given day. I have alluded on this blog that we may be leaving sooner rather than later; and my family and friends (like, live and in person) have known that he had put in an application several months ago for the Air Force's RAS program, something that he met all of the qualifications for and then some.

We found out today that he didn't get it, and we were both very surprised. Time will tell if he's able to find out why, because honestly, we can't think of a reason. Everything on paper was strong. The initial part of the program includes attending a graduate school full-time and earning a Master's ... could be that they were looking for candidates who already have their Master's. Sounds illogical, but that's how the Air Force often works.

I am very disappointed for John, of course. He has wanted this for so long. And I was really taken off-guard because I was the one telling him all this time that I thought he was going to get it. But after I processed it for a bit I have to admit...I was relieved. This takes so much pressure off, knowing that we're not moving again already next summer. It literally changes the way I can think, now that there's no longer the possibility of having to put this house up for sale so soon, or prepare for an interruption in Sean-Peter's therapy and having to start advocating for him from scratch in a new state, with new doctors, new therapists, a new school district...

And Conner is happy, of course. What thirteen-year-old wants to leave his friends? And yes, we're open with him about the possibilities in our lifestyle. He's already moved eight times (yes, eight times) so he knows the deal. But he's older now and that only makes it harder. A bit of stability is certainly not a bad thing.

But no, we did not burden the little ones with any abstract nonsense of a possible move to another state in the equally abstract future. Olivia still dramas on about Italy, for pete's sake. Just today in the car she says, "Just think, me and my friends Emma and Catherine and Chloe and Grant all used to live in Italy all together!" And then she sighed, audibly, and so very poignantly. Good Lord Almighty that girl can pine.

As for me, now I will paint that rainbow mural she's been wanting in her room after all. After taking a break from painting in general, if only to relieve my painter's wrist. And I will check out this women's chorus group that I just found out about, though I haven't sung in a proper choir in years let alone auditioned for anything. And I will think about living in this house, just for me, without thinking about what projects I need to get done in the interest of staging for a hopeful sale in which we just as hopefully won't lose our shorts. In general, in so many ways, I will allow myself to settle rather than tell myself why bother. Until he got the results, I hadn't even realized how much I was doing that.

It's almost difficult to imagine staying in one place for four years. We've never done that. (Yes, we're psychotic.) I've always made myself at home wherever we've lived. But four years? This might actually start to feel like home. A couple of weeks ago I had finally ran out of checks -- you know, the kind you write out by hand for the occasional order of firewood or the payment to your daughter's dance lessons at the small family-owned studio... (as opposed to the ones the bank mails for you on bill pay). Now I'm thinking, I might actually use the whole box before we move!

I'll tell you one thing for sure: I am going to go ahead and register to vote. This absentee business is for the birds -- or for people who move more than every four years. At least if I show up in person I have a half-way chance of remembering I did it.


Cherilyn said...

John, I am sad for you but I can't say that I am sad overall for all the reasons Jolyn mentioned. You have such a wonderful home and I longed for you to enjoy it longer. Sean-Peter's progress has been amazing and Conner seems so happy. (Olivia always seems happy!) And we like having you close, a drive, not an airplane away. Not to mention what a messed up place California has become! God always knows best and I'm sure he has many, many blessings in store for you right where you are. No doubt if Obarfa is elected, you are safer in the midwest!

JP said...

And perhaps I will have a job in that Gestapo-like civilian defense force he was talking about after I retire! :)

Jerilyn said...

John, I am so shocked, surprised, apalled - I can only say that they left the cream and took the whey. But I, too, am somewhat relieved for all the reasons Jolyn mentioned, and I'm sure that you thought of all those too. And - when you don't get what you think you want, God always has something better in mind. And He will bless you with it. And you'll look back and be amazed at the plans God had for you, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope". Jer. 29:11 NAS

Jolyn, I do not like getting news like this from your blog!

Jolyn said...

Um, whoops? My bad.

Oh, and I agreed with everything you said. (And so does John.)

Marfa said...

We're in Cincinnati and I was surprised that McCain didn't win...guess this area is just conservative! Or else there was voter fraud!!!

jp said...

Acorn? Did someone in here say Acorn? :P