Sunday, November 8, 2015

Being Kind in an Unkind World

It's been a week full of beautiful weather and late nights pondering my purpose on this earth. 

Nights where I lay in bed staring at the dark walls around me and smile at the amount of gratitude I have for this life, my life. 

People are worried about me---which is probably always going to be true because when you love someone, you want the best for them and so you worry sometimes. 
Sometimes I wonder if maybe it's hard to believe, given the circumstances and the trials, that I am truly happy right now. I know that many of you have seen me at my worst but I believe, in a way, that all of those dark moments were helping me to heal. 

Going through a divorce hardened me for a while. I was much less emotional and I had a hard time crying. It was weird because it was a foreign struggle for me. Really? Struggling to cry? It just seemed kind of weird and even a little bit stupid. 
But lately, I've been able to allow myself a little more vulnerability with my emotions and it just feels healthy and freeing. 

I feel a lot more like me. 

And feeling a lot more like me means that my sensitivity for others is overflowing. 

I know it's a good thing---I like that I am sensitive---but sometimes it is so emotionally exhausting that I vow to never sign on to Facebook again because the posts are too painful and often confusing to read. 
Obviously, this vow is broken each time, usually within minutes, because part of my unwinding at the end of my day includes a little {or a lot} of Facebook reading. 

I remember when Ferguson was all over the news and I didn't quite understand what was happening. I had friends who were standing up for the police and other friends who were standing up for the community members of Ferguson. Each post seemed to contradict the next but each post seemed to have something in common---a pleading for others to UNDERSTAND the pain on their side. 

As I was reading, I wanted to connect all of these opinionated articles and posts and show everyone that they were fighting for the same thing---for love, unity, equality, compassion. 
They wanted their loved ones and people of their same gender/race/religion to be accepted AS IS

After Ferguson (and honestly, before Ferguson), it didn't end. It seems that weekly, sometimes daily, there is a story I see posted on Facebook about conflicts that have risen and been pinned to a person's gender/race/religion/sexual orientation. 
And I want to fight with you---with all of you---to protect the people you love so dearly. I want to hear your side and listen intently as you tell your story of why you believe what you do. 
I want to hear about your daughter who is biracial and your fears about her being accepted when it seems that racial profiling is so prevalent in the media. 
I want to hear about how your husband is a police officer and you fear him being killed as he tries to protect our citizens. 
I want to hear about your son who is homosexual and your fears about him being accepted and loved by his peers. 
I want to hear about the abuse you have endured and how you fight for women's rights because your voice was stifled when you were younger. 

Because each one of your stories are real. Each one is fighting for love in it's own way. 

But, you guys, I want so badly to live in a world where we are fighting together. 
I want to live in a world where unity means we love no matter what---we love because we are all human beings and we are all worthy of acceptance and equality. 

I want us all to take a step back---think about the things you are posting online. Think about the people on the other side and try to see it from their perspective. 
I know you're hurting---but so are they. 

As I laid down in my bed last night and my head was spinning from the conflict surrounding some religious decisions that have confused me so much this week, I wanted so badly to connect people, to remind them to look at the situation through the eyes of the other side. 

People have every right to be hurt.
And people have every right to stand up for their religious beliefs. 

Both of these emotions and opinions and actions are valid and real. Each means something so sacred to the person who believes them. Each is intertwined with heaps of love for that person's people and for their beliefs. 

I'm sure there are so many things that I do in my life that people wouldn't agree with or understand. But honestly, this has nothing to do with how I'm living my life---it just has to do with the fact that I am living a life. 
Because no matter what we do, there will be people who see things differently. 

And that is ok. 
In many cases, it is beautiful. 
We can learn so much from people who see things differently than us

And for me, that is what this life is all about. 
It is about honoring my own beliefs, as different as they might be from yours. 
It is about loving you regardless and practicing that love and acceptance the same way Christ showed us when He was on this earth. 
It is about learning from you and you learning from me. 
It is about compassion and empathy for others and validating their pain even if we don't understand it---because even if we don't understand it, that doesn't make it any less real. 

Life is so much more than taking sides and fighting against each other. There is so much more we can do with our opinions and beliefs. 
There is so much we can teach when we start with love and compassion. 

I'm ok with living a life that's different than yours. 
I want you to be happy, to be proud of the life you are building. And if you are, I will stand behind you. And if you're not, I will be here to help you change in whatever way you'd like. 

Your feelings are valid---just as mine are---and my hope is that someday we can all fight on the same side.
To love each other more. 
To learn from each other more. 
To help each other more.