The amount of criticism, and negativity, on the web lately has been giving me a headache. I find myself withdrawing more and more each day from having any kind of an online presence. And, I find it hard to express myself, with the right / approved words, in this new phase for America.
Many people surround themselves with others of the same ideology. They feed off the energy of their friends, families and acquaintances. They rile themselves around others that align with the same feelings and thoughts as their own. And, they may not be challenged to see the other side so much. Or, they are so far deep in their own emotional wreckage they simply don’t care to understand another perspective.
OH — If only that were true for me. To only see one side, to keep a narrowed vision.
Having grown-up in Oklahoma, I know a lot of people that are happy with the recent change. I see their elatedness, boldness and displayed feelings of affirmation — finally getting America on the right course. Even though I left Oklahoma nearly 15 years ago, I didn’t leave all my friends and family behind.
Since that time of spreading my wings and soaring across the globe, I’ve had my mind stretched and my ideas put to the test. Some of my libertarian ways have been affirmed, some bent a little, and some completely washed over with a new idea. As you can imagine, being a spouse in the foreign service, I now also have a lot of friends that are not so happy with the new America.
I find myself in a bit of a pickle.
Always a middle child, I once again feel caught ‘in the middle’ of two siblings. I feel this enormous amount of pressure to mediate and make peace. I feel the need to be the diplomat and political officer of my circle. But, I don’t know how, so I step back and watch the punches come from each side. It’s horrible, it’s disgusting, and it’s unacceptable, really. I’m to the point where I want to scream for mom and dad to come break up the fight, before someone really gets hurt.
A couple weeks ago, my daughter asked me, “what’s the worst thing you could do?” My reply, “to hate.” She looked up at me with curiosity and asked why? I told her, (as a Christian) Jesus’ greatest commandment is for us to love. And, if the best thing we can do is love, then the worst thing we can do is hate. She seemed happy with that answer. Simple, logical.
I’ve kept that conversation in the back of my mind since it happened. It’s been reminding me to love at all times. It’s very hard to do that! Sometimes, I just want to hate what is going on around me. Or, to me.
Being married to a government employee is very much like being married to the government. I’m not really allowed the freedom to think too highly of myself, or put my needs first (for the greater good). And, today, I will spend Valentine’s Day without my bureaucratic dream boy. (Wink.) With less than a 24 hour notice, he was whisked away last week for important business. All our plans were erased within a matter of minutes, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I get that people are frustrated. I get that people feel disappointed. And, I certainly understand people wanting to stand up for their rights. But, I also think we need to step back, calm ourselves and examine our emotions. Emotions that are unreliable and dangerous. Emotions that, oftentimes, cause more harm than help. Emotions that easily get out of hand, and feed others’ emotions as well.
Even though I’m disappointed I’m not sitting in the restaurant where we made reservations, overlooking the harbor and enjoying a romantic dinner together, I can’t let my emotion ruin what is good in my life. It’s not the first time I’ve had to spend an ‘important’ day without my partner, and it probably won’t be the last. But, I have a choice in how I respond.
Do I answer the call to respond with love?
- Love is free to give, but not free to take.
- When feeling loved is our ‘top priority’ in life, we set ourself up for failure.
- When we teach our children the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves, we better make sure they see that we love ourselves.
- Living in the illusions of the past, whether they be beautiful or ugly, robs us of what is possible in the present.
- The only one holding you back from loving fully is you.
Until next time –