Tennis Shoe Politics

A Big Life: Encouragement for People in the Arts  –

tennies

My old black and white Keds

I don’t believe in sides. I really don’t.

I am someone who is always looking for a third way of looking at things.

Politically I am a moderate. Yet this is what I got when I attempted to reach out on social media to engage in the recent post-election debate:

$$$$####!!!@@@@@!

A sweet friend did this to me. An old friend.  A friend I thought loved me. And this was over something I didn’t even think was particularly controversial. Just fact-checking stuff. Would she have done this to my face? I don’t think so.  It’s scary to talk about feelings face to face.  But it’s better. It’s important to say “I love you” in person even if you are not sure the sentiment is returned.  It’s generous.  It is also more daring to challenge each other’s convictions in person. It is less likely we will shout at each other.  It is far too easy to “hide behind the screen”.  So many things in life are unjustified and make us feel angry. Or do they?

Do they really? Do “causes” make us angry or does anger make us seek out causes? You know the old adage about the chicken and the egg?

I think the anger came first.

chicken

Here’s a link to the fun argument.

We have all been hurt by life and are driven by our emotions. Men and women are born packed with hormones which dip and peak at various times of the day and month. In the worst case scenarios, this has led young men to feel justified to pick up guns and shoot up schools, malls, and theatres and clubs. Some of them have gone down with causes on their lips, but I don’t believe the “causes” were the reason for their actions.

I think the raging came first.

Snowflakes we made at Christmas for my church

This makes me think back to when I was a kid in middle school. Talk about hormones. If you wore the wrong kind of jeans or tennis shoes, you were smack on the wrong “side” of everything. I really don’t think things have changed much.  Community can be awkward and uncomfortable but we all need each other. It is important not to remain isolated in our own little political bubbles. It’s vital to look into each other’s eyes. It’s essential not to get sucked into the rage.  We are individuals as unique as snowflakes and as multifaceted as gems.  We are not flat comic book characters with only two dimensions so how can there only be two answers to any question?  We are three dimensional beings. Some scientists believe there is even a fourth and a fifth dimension. I guess I do too, since I believe in a spiritual realm.

rose-gem

Faceter Gail Bumala’s unique spiral rose cut.

We all have the right to speak and the responsibility to listen. Trust me, being a know-it-all never changed anyone.  The only thing that ever changed anyone is compassion.

So blessed are the peacemakers.

May I become one too.

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2 Responses to Tennis Shoe Politics

  1. Eric Hawkins says:

    I can personally relate to this post because growing up people would judge others based off of what they were wearing rather than their character. I really liked the part where you say “We all have the right to speak and the responsibility to listen. Trust me, being a know-it-all never changed anyone.” I think this is something that everyone should consider.

  2. Cosma Davis says:

    Middle school was such a horrible time! It’s disappointing to see and hear of so many grown ups who haven’t really gotten past this judgmental, two-dimensional view of humanity. I agree that listening is really a responsibility of everyone, especially listening before you judge–not after.

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