Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her loss in the 2017 presidential election to describe her greatest test of faith in her memoir “What Happened,” released Tuesday.
“I prayed a lot,” Clinton wrote. “I can almost see the cynics rolling their eyes. But pray I did, as fervently as I can remember ever doing. Novelist Anne Lamott once wrote that the three essential prayers she knows are ‘Help,’ ‘Thanks,’ ‘Wow.’ You can guess which one I reached for last fall.”
The former presidential candidate wrote that the election loss inspired her to embrace the humility of the Apostle Paul and to reach “beyond” herself to God.
Clinton also said that she prayed for help to deal with the sadness of losing the election, and to “find a new purpose” so that she would not become a past-obsessed recluse like the wealthy spinster Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations.”
“I prayed that my worst fears about Donald Trump wouldn’t be realized, and that people’s lives and America’s future would be made better, not worse, during his presidency,” Clinton wrote. “I’m still praying on that one, and I can use all the backup you can muster.”
Clinton proceeded to make several comparisons between herself and the eldest son depicted in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. She attributed her anger and grief over her loss to feeling, like the eldest son when the prodigal son returns, that all her “years of hard work and dutiful care” amounted to nothing in the face of “wayward” President Donald Trump’s win. She claimed moral superiority, stating that faithful duty — to God and to her country — was its own reward.
“Once or twice last November, I thought to myself ‘Well, Dad, what if I lose an election I should have won and let an unqualified bully become President of the United States? Would you still love me then?’ Unconditional love is the greatest gift he gave me, and I’ve tried to give it to Chelsea and now to Charlotte and Aidan,” Clinton wrote, comparing God’s love in the parable to her father’s love.
Clinton segued her comparison of the presidential election with Jesus’ parable of forgiveness and the Kingdom of Heaven into claiming apostle-like humility and faith, as described by Paul in the New Testament.
“My task was to be grateful for the humbling experience of losing the presidential election,” Clinton wrote. “Humility can be such a painful virtue. In the Bible, Saint Paul reminds us that we all see through a glass darkly because of our humbling limitations. That’s why faith — the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen — requires a leap. It’s because of our limitations and imperfections that we must reach out beyond ourselves, to God and to one another.”
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