on kindness

I've been mulling this around in my mind for a while- letting it simmer, taking it apart and putting it back together in a way that makes sense over and over again. Usually when that happens enough times I'm like a pot that over boils and I eventually just word vomit on the nearest source (sorry blog, you're the victim). 

I tend to steer my blog away from anything political and keep it related to my family activities and latest DIY projects, but you know when you've had bad tacos on a road trip and can no longer hold back the spew so you just open the car door mid-drive and let 'er fly? (Oh...you don't?
Well, this is that. 

In light of the recent SCOTUS decision to legalize gay marriage, aside from the myriad of articles, memes, rainbows, and scripture quotes I've seen covering my facebook feed, I've seen a lot of hate. A LOT of hate- from both sides. And that makes me the saddest of all. 

Regardless of your stance on gay marriage, everyone on both sides needs to take a deep breath (and possibly also a Xanax). We are being so deeply hateful to each other- neighbors, friends, fellow members of our congregation with a differing opinion, and especially to strangers on the internet. 

I get it- we are a passionate people, our convictions run deep and we're not afraid to let others know what those are. But sometimes we forget that our convictions, beliefs, morals, opinions, whatever you want to call them are different, and just because yours are different than mine, doesn't give either of us the right to verbally obliterate one another. Trying to tear each other down and prove your point out of malice or bitterness is just going to drive the wedge farther down- and what good is that going to do?
We all still have to live and work with one another.
I believe the fastest way to destroy a nation is to divide its people on as many issues as possible- race, religion, economic status, sexual preference. We will destroy ourselves- forget any outside sources.

I believe our right to make our own choices and have our opinions is one of the greatest gifts God gave us- free agency. How boring would life be if we all chose the exact same thing? I mean, Baskin Robbins and their 131 different flavors would literally not exist (gasp!). 

Life is like a journey across the ocean. We all get on different boats to get to the other side. When we have children, we teach them how to steer and manage the sails the best we know how- what we believe will help them best get through the current. People, for the most part, don't want to throw themselves into the shark infested waters- they just want to sail through the ocean the best way they know how. Generally we make the choices we do in life because we believe it's what will bring us the most happiness, satisfaction, and security. It doesn't always work out, but that's what life preservers are for. Not a one of us is perfect- sometimes we unintentionally slip off the boat.

The LGBT community has been calling this recent decision a huge "win". But in so many other ways, we're losing- and big time- because of all of this hate tearing us to shreds.

 So here's what I want- from more than just the LGBT community- from all of us:

I want us to have conversations about our different opinions without name calling, scoffing, belittling and sarcasm. One of my favorite quotes is "People too often listen with the intent to respond instead of understand." (That's paraphrased I'm sure). Just as important, I want us to teach our children how to have these conversations with each other- because they're certainly not learning it by our examples. Growing up, some of my very best friends had different opinions than I did (and still do) on almost every stand- but they were still my best friends. It didn't get in the way of our ability to have a relationship with one another. What happens to us as adults that makes that so difficult to do?

I want us to respect the right we all have to differing opinions. The boat I choose to get across the ocean may be one of religion and the one man/one woman approach. The boat you choose may be so bright, shiny, and rainbow colored it looks like freakin' unicorn poop- but can we not wave at each other from the view on our different boats without ordering full on canon fire? (I just really like the boat analogy). [I feel like I should also clarify that the example I just used made it sound like there aren't gay people who are also religious, which I know isn't true- that was just AN example].

 And here's the thing- I may tell you about my religion and the impact its had on my life, how it brings me peace and stability and you can listen to understand me. Understand ME as a fellow human being. And you may tell me about your struggles as a teenager to come out of the closet and how relieved and supported you feel with the new law- and I'll listen to understand YOU- because you're a fellow human being. And we'll both understand that at the end of the day, you will decide to stay on your boat, and decide to stay on mine, or maybe not- maybe we'll get on a different boat, but tomorrow we'll still wave to one another and be friends simply for the fact that we are human beings all just trying to make it through life. 

So all I'm basically saying is what I feel like I say 34,523 times throughout the day to my kids- 


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