We Are Better Than That

A few months before the election, a male coworker told me he wanted to talk with me about my views on politics and asked if I could meet him in his office.  I was like, “Sure…?”  To be honest, as I walked into his office, I felt like I might have just entered into a lion’s den without knowing if it had a lion waiting to devour me.

He said, “I want to understand why you feel the way you do about politics and why I think you may be voting the way you are.”  I could have said, “Well, it’s kinda none of your business” but instead, I shared with him about my own life experiences (some amazing and some traumatic) that shaped my personal views and concerns regarding politics.  He shared his concerns as well.

Our views were pretty much opposite with the candidates, and he said a lot to me. However, do you know what wasn’t said?

  • He didn’t refer to me as a political label.
  • He didn’t tell me I am un-American because my views differed from him.
  • He didn’t question my faith or call me out for “not being a real Christian”.
  • He didn’t tell me that my opinion or concerns were invalid.
  • He didn’t make me feel unwelcome or not worthy of having a voice.
  • He didn’t call me “lazy”, “looking for a handout”, etc…
  • He didn’t disrespect me in any way, and I didn’t disrespect him.

As our conversation ended, he thanked me for having this discussion. We knew we hadn’t convinced each other of voting in a different manner, but we also knew that the point of our conversation was not to do this. We both walked away with a deeper level of understanding about each other’s political and social concerns.

I have thought about this conversation often in the past month or so, but most recently, this week after seeing all of the discourse via social media regarding the election.  My coworker and I still get along (SHOCKING!).  We still have mutual respect for each other (NO WAY!), and we actually work quite well together (SHUT THE FRONT DOOR).

If there is anything that we can learn from this crazy election cycle, subsequent new President, and social media nonsense, it is this:

We have a LOT of talking to do, and not just via comments on Facebook or other social media outlets.  I mean real conversations where we seek to understand and not just to respond.  We carry far too many misperceptions about each other. We won’t understand the why’s of what makes a person feel strongly about a particular subject unless we’ve actually engaged him or her in conversation about it.  We need to remember that we all carry life experiences that shape the decisions we make.

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We are Americans.  Let’s not allow the very freedom of democracy to split us apart.

We are better than that.

 

Just a Handful of Rocks {love pursues love}

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Just a handful of rocks and an old ring, right?  Well, not quite.

The week before Christmas, my daughter withdrew $100 out of her savings account so that she could purchase items for the homeless in our community.  You can read about her experience with this by clicking on this link: 7BillionOnes

Yesterday, I received a message that the gentleman my daughter met at a homeless camp had a gift for her.  He told our mutual friend, a photographer, that he wanted her to pick out some things from his collection as a thank you for her gifts to him.

I told my daughter that we had an errand to run and needed to stop by the studio before she went to gymnastics.  She was excited to go back to the photography studio as she just loves walking around it and looking at the incredible images on the walls.

When we got there, our friend took her to the office and told her that “D” had picked a few special pieces out for her and wanted her to look through the trinkets and rocks.  She was thrilled.

As I watched her little fingers meander their way through the bag, I couldn’t help but feel so humbled by it.  With an impending winter storm heading our way, and a recent event that affected “D”, his generosity and appreciation for what my daughter did for him a few weeks ago pressed right into my heart.

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To some, this handful of rocks and an old ring might seem like junk.

To my daughter, they are priceless. 

To some, this handful of rocks and an old ring might seem trivial.

To my daughter, they are meaningful.

To me, they are a powerful reminder that giving breeds giving. 

LOVE PURSUES LOVE.

Let us all stop minimizing what acts of kindness can do for each other.  I know my daughter’s experience interacting with our homeless friends has changed her and, oh my, it has changed me.

Friends, would you say a prayer tonight for “D” and all of our homeless friends?  Would you consider giving what you can to help change the life of a person who is homeless?

I promise your life will be changed because of it.