P.T.E.D.S. – Post-Traumatic Election Day Syndrome

By Rev. Dr. J. Loren Russell

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

While in the throes of a global pandemic that has killed five times more American citizens than all the soldiers who died in the Vietnam War; civil unrest due to systemic racism has led to protest marches against police misconduct that stretched across the face of our nation; we waited on lines that wrapped around blocks in the weeks leading up to and on election day to exercise our right to vote in the most contentious presidential race in this country’s history. Then we had to wait from election day Tuesday to yesterday Saturday to get the results, only to hear that the sitting president refuses to accept the results of a Joe Biden victory. Our stress levels became a disease of its own that I call Post-Traumatic Election Day Syndrome, or “P.T.E.D.S.”

During those four post-election days, we were bombarded with headlines that not only captured the moment, dominated the news, but also intensified stress. We read, “Coronavirus is Surging; Civil Unrest 2020: A Toxic Mix of Three Elements in America; Homeland Security Agencies Prepare for Civil Unrest Amid Heightened Tensions Nationwide; Trump Refuses to Accept Biden Victory, Promises Legal Challenges.”

While we waited with bated breath for the delayed announcement of a Joe Biden victory, there is still the added stress of having to wait until the vote is officially tallied. That will happen when every ballot is counted, every lawsuit settled, and the Electoral College meets on December 14 to cast the final votes for president.

The Philippian text provides a respite from the rigors of COVID, the protests against systemic racism, and the political drama of the election, turning our attention to those things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. We are directed not to just think about, but to meditate on those things. To meditate means calm, introspective contemplation for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. I am sure most, if not all will agree, if there is anything that is needed during this chaotic time, it is intensified spiritual enlightenment.

This text reminds us that our hope, our dreams, and our future are not dependent on the situations or the circumstances of life, no matter how overwhelming they may get. It reminds us that there is truth, honesty, purity, love, positivity, virtuousness, and praiseworthy things in everything. This text reminds us to meditate, seek after, and to search for these things, for they will bring spiritual comfort through the storms and struggles of life.

The future of this nation will be determined by the way we handle these, our most difficult times. Without a doubt, this year has been one of the most challenging times we have ever endured as a nation. The question that the text raises is whether we will surrender to “Post-Traumatic Election Day Syndrome” or meditate on those things that bring us to a heightened level of spiritual awareness.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator& host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 pm LIVE on J Loren Russell and Matters of Faith Facebook groups and the Matters of Faith YouTube channel.

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