It feels incredibly personal and yet deeply communal. It feels almost like a prayer: pen in hand, hovering over that little bubble, asking for a million things with a single scribble, pleading for a miracle, knowing that it counts for something, even when it feels like it doesn’t. You have voted. You are part of a great tradition of freedom and democracy.
As I signed for my ballot this morning, I thought of the woman for whom I am named. My great-grandma Clara Lucille was among the first women to vote in New York, and she took her right to do so very seriously, faithfully practicing it at every election until her death, at 102 years old.
Clara’s husband, Mariano, lovingly nicknamed her “Sparky,” as she was the spark plug behind his many political and social accomplishments. She was the faithful, steady companion, and the keeper of the books. My great-grandparents courted for 7 years, during which she claimed she wore a “belt of pins” to remind him to keep his hands off (he, in turn, claimed that he earned several purple hearts during their courtship).
Grandma had been conflicted about the relationship (hence the 7 year courtship). She loved Mariano, and yet she had desired very much to commit her life to spiritual contemplation and service. When she humbled herself to ask her spiritual mentor: “Mother, which is the greatest sacrifice, becoming a nun or getting married?,” the nun (to whom I owe my very existence), replied: “Marriage.”
And it was in this way that Grandma Clara looked at every decision in her life: How can I best give of myself to do the most good?
The level of commitment that my great-grandma demonstrated to her faith, her family,
and her country are admirable, and I hope that I can someday fill the (metaphorically) large (yet literally tiny) shoes of my namesake who, framed by a barely 5 foot body, lived a large and significant life. One thing that I can do towards that end, is to always show up on election day to make my small contribution.
But if you ask me who I voted for, I will echo the very words spoken by my great grandma every election year: That’s my business.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
– Mother Theresa