Monday, March 24, 2014

The Art of Love

I count my blessings every day that my mother is my mother.

She raised me to love people because they are people, not because they share the same religion or political beliefs as me.

I grew up in a mining town in Wyoming in a dusty, wind-blown, tumbleweed covered trailer court. And I loved it there because it was my home. I was the only kid in my neighborhood of my religion, which meant I got to go to church with my friends to see how and what they believed. I visited Baptist, Evangelical, Catholic, and I don't even remember all the others. If they wanted, they could come with me and see what we did at my church. It wasn't a missionary effort, it was a 'this is how you are a good friend' lesson.

According to my mother: It's how you understand the people you love.

When I was in fifth grade, after moving what felt like a thousand times, we ended up in a little forgotten corner on the outskirts of town. The only friend I had was the only other girl my age, who was Jehovah's Witness. Sometimes we'd talk about religion. Sometimes her mom would give me Spanish lessons, and when my accent was good enough I even got to read from their bible in spanish out loud at a couple of their meetings. (No, I didn't have a clue what I was saying, but I could pronounce stuff).

Most of the time, though, we played, we talked, we created stories and make-believe worlds. We did the things that 10 yr old friends do. I felt included, loved, and like my friend accepted me for who I was, just as I accepted her.

Now I live in a whole 'nother state where it feels like just about everyone is the same religion as me. And guess what? They still all have differing political and religious opinions. And I try to do the same thing for my kids that my mother did for me.

I am not perfect. And I AM very opinionated. But guess what? I don't expect everyone to agree with me. That guy who asked in Sunday School how to convince his kids to only be friends with same-religion kids? My opinion is that he's an idiot. He disagrees with me. I'm fine with that. (But I still think I'm right)

I want my children to love people because they are people they enjoy being around. I don't want them to pick from a specific gene pool, because eeeewwww, eventually everyone starts inter-breeding and you end up with cousins marrying cousins and people have too many thumbs and corrupted blood-lines and yuck.

People are awesome. There are some funny, fantastically great people out there who have completely different religious and political views than me. And I LOVE them! I am glad that they are there. I am glad that this world is filled with diversity and awesome. I expect people to respect that I live my life the way I do, and I *try* to give that same respect to everyone else. (Even when I think they're idiots)

/Sigh. My Facebook feed was FILLED this morning with religious and political meme's that were more hateful than helpful, and I was annoyed. Annoyed that in the comments people devolve into name-calling and hurt feelings, annoyed that "My Way Is the Right Way" is an accepted way of life for some. Life's a two-way street, and Karma is a very real thing.

In short: It is closed-minded and stupid, STUPID, I TELL YOU, to expect the whole world to change their minds and agree with you.  (So, hey, change your mind and agree with me already!)

The Golden Rule, people. Life is a lot easier for everyone if you live it. And you know what? I'm certain there are people who are going to disagree with me. Which is awesome.

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