A Note to Facebook Politicians

Elephant in the room: politics.

I recently went on Facebook, as I sometimes do at the end of my day, and quickly regretted making that the last thing my mind ingested before falling asleep. I climbed into bed physically and emotionally ill and overwhelmed. Literally, my body ached with disgust at the uncivil, arrogant, downright  h a t e  I saw. {To my dismay, that feeling was still there the next morning. What a way to start a Monday.}

It seems that people forget that just because they are typing their opinions into a device and tapping “post” that those same words are being communicated to an actual human being, with actual feelings and real, personal reasons that they process life and the world the way that they do.

People, we must, must, must, must, must stop this.

Love: the foundation of the two greatest commandments given to humanity.

We spend more time voicing our opinions than we do listening to others. Regardless of how stark the differences may seem between us and other individuals, speaking over people with the sole intention of changing them is not love. To be perfectly transparent, I’m still learning on a daily basis what love means and is and encompasses, fully. But, what I am certain of about love is that it is not arrogant or rude.

Let me be clear – I am not advocating that everyone remain silent, or that we should not have bold, strong beliefs about life and love and politics and the world, or even that all opinions are created equal. I myself have beliefs that I hold very dearly and I do believe there are crucial times when it is necessary to stand firmly in those beliefs.

In fact, there are views in the world that do need to be evaluated and challenged.

{What if no one was allowed to question your love for fascism in the 1930s? Obviously, we wouldn’t call that love.}

There is undoubtedly evil in the world and we do need to stand in firm opposition to it.

As passionate as I am about that, it’s for another time and post.

But, 3 things:

  1. Be humble. Keep an open mind and heart because the chances that you are 100% right is likely false.
  2. Be kind. I don’t care how wrong you think someone is – they are human, created in the image of a holy God, just like you are.
  3. Be loving – both to who you are communicating with, while also keeping in mind the people you are standing for.

I simply want to urge all of us to love.

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

I realize that that is a daily, sometimes hourly working out of what love looks like from person to person that we encounter. To your spouse, to your kids, to family members, to friends, to co-workers, to perfect strangers… to Facebook “friends.”

It’s hard.

This thing we call life is beautifully complicated and complex, on an individual level simply because humanity is broken – but even more largely because there are other people outside of our own personal selves who are also broken and trying to figure themselves out, let alone figure out what they think about this intricate world we live in.

May we be more considerate.

May we be more patient with each other.

May we  l i s t e n.

May we respect others unconditionally – regardless of how blatantly different or “wrong” you think they are, or even regardless of how much respect they don’t show you in return. Because that is another thing I am certain of about love – it is unconditional.

May we spend more time thoughtfully, carefully verbalizing our words to human faces with love – and again (I know I sound redundant),  l i s t e n i n g  to what those human faces have to say in return – than we do mindlessly, arrogantly, selfishly blasting our personal views of how the world works onto a screen.

For the sake of our broken world so desperate for more of it, I’ll say it again:

Let us love.

 

Unexpected Teachers

A few nights ago, Nate and I were watching a movie on the couch. We took what we call a “second dinner” break about half way through. As we walked to the kitchen, we nonchalantly looked outside to find everything completely white – it had snowed a good two inches in the last hour. We’d seen snow on the forecast, but thought we’d get more of a dusting, if any at all.

Just like that, our giddy selves were kids again. The two of us bundled up and ran out in the backyard. To make a long [sub]story short, late night snowball fights are something everyone should experience. Nate and I have both agreed that memory will never be forgotten.

We woke up the next morning to find that all of our footprints from our snowball shenanigans the night before had been completely “whited” out – yes, 6 more inches of snow.

Needless to say, we’ve had a lot of time indoors the last few days. At first I was a little nervous; there’s something a little unsettling about being trapped inside with a high-energy 17 month old.

Something about the pressure to fill roughly 9 waking hours of a busy, high-energy, small-attention-spanned-brain with some sort of entertainment.

Don’t get me wrong; this has been the most fun stage so far of parenting, but it has also been the most challenging. The irony of a tiny human gaining increasing amounts of independence every day is that in that process, they are actually extremely dependent and needy.

[Quick eFullSizeRender-1xample: Lucy is convinced that she can eat all by herself with silverware now. But her idea of that is me placing her food and utensils in front of her and letting her stir the food and ask for help in between each bite. It actually takes more of my time, energy, and patience for her to learn to eat with these tricky utensils (independence in this stage) than it does for her to just keep eating with her hands the way that she already knows how to do very well.]

All of this to say, the combination of being 1) cooped up in the house all day and 2) an ambitious, growing toddler has been an altogether fun, exhausting, frustrating, sobering, reflective experience.

The hard parts of parenting, or life in general for that matter, tend to be the ones I deter from. It’s much easier to throw Lucy in the car and run some errands to kill time in a day than it is to sit on the ground and play with her and consciously open my mind and imagination to enter her world, to see life through her eyes, to be with her as we play blocks or read books or practice for the millionth time what a doggie says. What a kitty cat says. What a bird says. What a cow says. {Repeat.}

But having the privilege – yes, privilege – to be smacked in the face with those indoor activities for three days straight has been extremely invigorating and exactly what I’ve needed in this tricky season of toddlerhood. Instead of needing her to just learn faster or communicate more clearly or better understand what I’m trying to teach her, I’ve needed a perspective check.

Thank you, snow, for being an excellent teacher.FullSizeRender-2

It’s exactly what Lucy needed, too. And it’s what she still needs every day as her mind is developing and growing and changing.

She needs time. She needs attention. She needs my presence – not just physically, but mentally. She needs me to be all there, seeking to better understand what she’s trying to communicate because for goodness’ sake, she’s just trying to learn how to be a human. That is no easy task for her, either.

And if I’m being real, I’m still learning too.

And if I’m being really real, I’m still pretty needy too. I need my most valued loved ones and mentors to be present and hold me accountable, too.

This is what it means to be human: Real love. Active love. Involved love. Messy love.

Young and old.

Because being human doesn’t just mean being able to operate eating utensils. Or being potty trained. Or learning the social graces of living in a society.

Those are all large parts, yes. But to say that’s what it means to be fully human would be to say that efficiency in life is the ultimate goal. And I’ve been learning lately that that’s just not the case.

Or it shouldn’t be, at least.

Thanks snow. Your timing was perfect.

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