Flashback Friday: Elections 1995

Flashback Fridais a weekly series on “Hopes and Dreams.”  
Each Friday a different memory from Jessi’s or John’s past is posted.  You are invited to join the fun and record a memory of your own, too, whether it be on your blog, in your journal, in an audio file, etc.  The objective is to foster an appreciation and desire for personal record keeping as we are forming our personal histories.  Also, if you chose to blog your memory, you are invited to link up to our memory (but only if you wanna).   

With all of the media coverage of the GOP Primary election and with the special connection I have to Presidential candidate Mit Romney, I thought it appropriate to share a little memory I have of when I once ran for office myself.  Fourth Grade Class Representative, to be exact:

I remember I was so insecure.  I had no idea who I was or what people wanted me to be in order for them to like me.  But I knew enough about myself {more than I realized, actually} that I still had this weird ambition inside of me that said to my heart, “You should run for class office!”  So I did.

I remember my dad tried to convince me to use the campaign slogan, “Jessi Can!” and have pictures of little garbage cans on badges I’d hand out and all over my posters…. That shows you how creatively intelligent my dad is… Love you, Dad!

Instead I went with a clever little slogan that rhymed with my last name, and I thought I really had something going.  I made posters, handouts, and gave a speech in front of the class.  I got a great response and it looked like I really had a shot.  For the first time I felt popular, even though I had no idea why or how.

I remember my opponent.  She seemed a lot more secure with who she was than me, but that didn’t help people like her anymore than they already didn’t.  She was very nerdy, very socially awkward, but was totally true to herself.  I felt sorry for her, because it was so clear that I would win over her, and I had a very special place in my heart for the underdog, even then.

Election day came and the ballots were passed around in class.  I looked at my name.  Then I looked at her name.  I thought to myself, “Surely I can spare a vote for her and still win.”  So I checked her box instead of my own.

Later that day it was revealed that she was the new class representative.  I had lost.  To the nerd!  I was devastated.  In an instant I was even more insecure than I was before.  After school my teacher called me to her desk to have a little chat.  I explained to her that I had voted for my opponent instead of myself because I felt bad for her, and she got tears in her eyes . . . . . and told me that I had lost by only one vote.

Then something happened that I’ll never forget.  She pulled me in close to her, wrapped her arms around me and gently whispered, “Jessi, you’ll win when it matters, I promise.”  And that helped me realize in a little way who I was and who I wanted to be, and I promised myself I would do everything I could to be that person–the person who always reached out for the outcast and who was kind to others and helped them realize who they could become.

Over the following few years there were many more elections.  I won some and lost most, but never forgot what my fourth-grade teacher told me.  Each time I won I was so grateful, but knew it wasn’t the time that really mattered.

I won Student Body officer my senior year against a gal that I had lost to my sophomore year because a bunch of boys who thought she was cute stole a ton of ballots and marked her name, I later found out.  And for a long time I thought that was the time that really mattered.  I mean, I won Student Body Office!  It doesn’t get bigger or better than that!  My teacher had kept her promise to me, and I kept my promise to myself.

But now that I have a little more maturity under my belt and a few more years of wisdom behind me, I realize that even winning Student Body Office wasn’t the time that really mattered.  The time that really matters is today.  Am I kind to my husband today?  Then I win when it matters.  Do I spend time with my son, in his world, connected to his spirit?  Then I win when it matters.  Am I a diligent disciple of Jesus Christ today?  Then I win when it matters.  Am I still an advocate for the underdog, today?  Then I win when it matters.  There may not be votes to show that these are the times that matter most, but I know that Heavenly Father is keeping track.  And His is the most important vote of all, anyway.