There are so many things I want to say and I feel as if I have been holding my tongue forever. 2016 has been a defining year where I have questioned so many of my values and been tested in my thinking … how strongly do you believe?
The big ONE … everyone has the right to their opinion … even where I don’t agree … even where I think the opinion is uninformed/prejudiced/SO!!! wrong. If I was prone to gambling, I think I could win a small fortune. I bet that this belief was tested in each month of the year. Each month, the temptation to deny someone’s right to an opinion (and even more to express it) was sorely tempted. Each month, I had to take a deep breathe, then I would rant, breathe again, rant some more, breathe SO DEEP that I was at risk of never breathing again, and, finally, I would agree with myself that yes I do still believe, even though … <breathe> … carry on.
At some point in the year, I even tried to improve my technique and cut down on some of the ranting. I haven’t taken a look to see how successful I was … and no, I am not asking for anyone else’s perspective 🙂 – acknowledgement is always the first step.
And now, in the middle of November, the breathing is quite deep, the sighs are quite long and my mind is being blown daily as I attempt to put it all back together from the day before.
And I know I’m not alone.
However, I don’t want to dwell, I want to learn. My hope is that the analysis of ‘how this happened’ will lead to a discussion on ‘how to move forward’. There is acknowledgement that the rise of dissatisfaction is not isolated to one or two nations but is felt across the globe – this we know to be true.
We need to acknowledge that we are all tempted to hate and I fear that the temptation rises more often than we admit. We need to to get better at acknowledging its existence in our country, our state, our neighbourhoods, and our living rooms. Acknowledge it even when we see it in the darkest recesses of our hearts.
If we don’t acknowledge it – if we try to pass it off as anything else – then we give it room to grow. As hate grows, it pushes out and leaves no room for grace nor Love.
Consider what belief is more important to us than the rising xenophobia and prejudice. In a world where politics is often about the extremes, what position might a party/person take that would leave us conflicted with no clear idea of how to cast our vote.
Before we cast the stones (and believe me, I have cast quite a few recently), consider what our position might be if the candidates we were faced with were unpalatable. How would we then decide – would we vote out of fear? Would we vote for privilege? Would we value the unborn more than the living? Would we place our value in individual greed or social good? Do we value education for all rather than the few? Would we know which was better longterm and which was worse?
There are still so many thoughts fighting in my mind, trying to find some traction and still no sense to it all. I know I don’t know the answers but I do believe that I there is a path to follow however often I may stray.
It is to treat one another with grace and love – that same grace and love that I would like to be treated in turn.
It is to focus on the things that I do wrong and fixing them before detailing the extensive list of faults that any other must address.
It is to be aware of my privilege, the great wealth that has been given me, and to find a way to share it with others rather than store it away.
It is not to hold others to my own values but to love them where they are at.
To allow people choice and control over their life. (No? Is this not what God desires. That we love him – not through fear or lack of choice but out of wonder for all that He is.)
To be a light … not the darkness.