I have a lot of acquaintances and many dear friends. They cover the entire spectrum of the political realm, a pretty large spectrum of the religious world, and as far as gender, sexuality, north or south upbringing, rural, urban, sports lovers and haters, well, you name it.
All these people make for a broad, interesting, never boring life.
We all disagree on at least a few things. I realize I am way too left leaning for comfort for many of my friends from church and seminary days. If they only knew I couldn't even vote for Hillary, she is too conservative for me! (Was happy to vote for Jill, sorry not sorry...)And then I think about how I am too centrist for many of my feminist friends, with whom I actually agree on most things, just don't always speak as loudly.
I wish we could all find a way to feel safe enough to be able to express our feelings.
I have noticed in my own personal life that when I feel the least heard, when I feel the most disregarded, when I feel the most marginalized is when my voice begins to rise, my blood pressure pumps, and peripheral vision dims. What to do?
I can run away, find a place where I don't have to ever speak to anyone, see anyone who disagrees with me, oh, wait! I do do that sometimes, haha! But what I have found that seems to work better is to go find the quiet place first.
It is so hard to hear someone else when I feel I am not being heard. Gosh, it took several years of marriage and quite a few counseling session for Philip and me to learn how to take turns. We learned to recognize if the voice begins to rise, there might be something deeper underneath the disagreement that is connected to some kind of deep pain or shame. We learned to show each other compassion, and while we always found something to disagree on, the kids will tell you that sometime in 2003 we quit fighting. And what is funny, around that time, probably because I felt safe and secure, my politics began to evolve in a direction they always leaned but I was too afraid to go, being in a fundamentalist, southern baptist ministry.
Philip's politics evolved in the opposite direction. We laughed as we would drive to the polls to vote, knowing that we cancelled each other out. And felt safe, respected, loved, and understood.
And wondered how it would all shake out as the kids grew old enough to vote!
I am sad to hear that there are violent protests happening after the inauguration. I am sad to hear so many people write shameful things suggesting that it is time for Obama and his wife to go back to Africa. Wow. It is all bad. It makes my stomach churn and my heart pound. So many of my dear friends are thrilled about this turn in American history, and I and many others are concerned and discomforted by the fact that a racist, misogynistic man who delights in sexually assaulting pretty women, and whom we cannot trust to follow through on his promises is now in office. He is a loose cannon, and the fact is, in a nation as divided and afraid as we are, it is only logical that two rather extreme options were the only true options on the ballot this year. And yes, I realize that many of my friends did not vote the man, but voted the party, and I respect that, even as I disagree.
I trust that as things shake down, life won't go quite as horribly as we fear with this new captain at the helm. I trust that we will wake up, and find that violence begets violence, and peace begets peace.
Perhaps if a few of us will take time to listen, which is VERY hard to do!!!, we might hear the underlying pain that is the reason behind the extreme positions. I am not saying we need to sit down and shut up. Merely offering the thought that pausing to hear the other position might give us some understanding and a way to stop some of the violence. Because hear me well, there are many acts of violence being perpetrated this week and no windows are being broken as a result. Verbal barrages, demeaning, harsh, mocking criticisms can be very devastating, and do nothing but fuel the fire. And I confess there have been moments when, shamefacedly I have to admit, I have been one of the perpetrators...
Oh, how I regret the times I was too hot to listen. Sometimes it seems so unfair to have to be the grownup. But if not me, then who?
The winds are howling and seem to be the perfect backdrop for the howling of millions of people right now. Howling in pain. Howling in fear. Howling because of injustice, because of pride, because of money, because of lost love, lost dignity, lost time.
Oh, please, Holy Spirit, you mysterious, wondrous, inexplicable force, help ME to be a light, to be truth, to know when to speak and act and when to sit down and pause. Not sit down and shut up, but sit down and breathe.
PS in a short bit, the girls and I are going to join a sister Women's march up Hancock Hill. Will try to figure out how to copy my FB post, which stirred up quite a bit of dissension and anger, surprisingly. How is it that everything tied to women happens to end up with violent discussions on abortion and baby dismemberment???