I received a generic/informative email today from my son about a family member. It was a reminder that we all might have differing political, religious, emotional or environmental interests and beliefs but that we are still family and need to treat each other with respect.
It was a reminder to me of how to use and treat Facebook. Facebook is also like a big family. We have friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family all blended into one huge family. We share our lives, our family pictures, our outings and keep in touch with those far away. We share news and reports of interest. Some are legitimate articles or news, and some are purely for entertainment with a huge dose of tongue-in-cheek thrown in. We share memories and things that happened in the past. We share new things, and unexpected illnesses and ask for prayers and support. Amidst all of that, we sometimes get caught up in politics. That is always a topic of interest with incendiary possibilities lurking.
Within my family are people of many religious choices. Most are Christian, but some are undecided. My husband was brought up Southern Baptist and I was a Lutheran. We tried each others church and ended up not going for a time. We are both now Catholic. I embraced and became friends with some special Charismatic Nuns and the belief in the gifts of the Spirit. I pray in tongues in my private prayers.
Some of us are conservative and some are quite liberal. Some are straight and some are not. Some are married and some are not. Some are Republican and some embrace the Democratic party. Some are extreme in pro environmental issues or in recycling while some are actively seeking equality in personal choices and acceptance. But they are family and I love them all.
I have friends and coworkers of many races. My last job, I was in the minority. I was the white person. It took me many years to even notice because we were women first of all, coworkers with a common goal, and friends. I now have a new work environment. It is also varied with women and men, many races and many age groups, from the very young to the elderly.
Every where we go, in whatever we do, we find people who have different beliefs, different political beliefs, different backgrounds and different religious affiliations.
Some of my very close friends were avid lovers of Obama. We managed to work together for most of those 8 years without any contention. We were friends, coworkers, and shared work, values and respect. We kept politics out of the work arena. But because of these friendships, I try to be careful when I post things on Facebook.
I post things I see that I believe in. I also post controversial things of interest. Sometimes I believe in them and sometimes I think they are “out in left field” and just find them fascinating. I try not to post extremely damaging articles about things I know are important to some of my friends. It is more important to me to have friends than to attempt to mold the world into a mini ME or convince them that “my way is the only or best way”.
Who we are and who we become develops over our entire lifetimes and we are constantly changing. Things I thought were important when I was younger are not so now. There are things I did once that would raise eyebrows now. We learn like children. We try something to learn and to grow, and then we have to decide what is the most important to us. We have to decide what is the most beneficial way to live and what will create the least amount of drama or stress in our lives. After all, we want to work, to grow, to be creative, to give of ourselves, to share what we know, and to learn from others and enjoy life while doing it. And thus, hitting someone over the head with our personal passions or beliefs is not the way to create and live a happy life.
We all are different. We are made different. We think differently. Different things touch our souls or move us, or encourage us to want to make a difference, or to make a change or to help in some way. My passion is not yours. Each of us have different passions and the urge to improve our world in our small way. But my way is not the only way and we all can help or bring change within our own passions.
We all can be stubborn. We all can be obstinate. We all can be adamant and rigid. We all can be angry. We can be rude and we can be loving. But we can also respect and admire our family and friends and coworkers for what they have become, the accomplishments they have made, the trials gone through and the strengths they have gained along the way. We are first and foremost, people. And people want to live and to grow and to be productive and be creative and to love and be loved. During our search for all of those things, we may temporarily embrace new things to “try them out”. There will be some we keep and there will be some we discard as we continue on our journeys.
As a believer in the Triune God, personal spiritual relationship and prayer is extremely important to me, but that is also part of the journey. I believe strongly that we cannot live without a relationship with Jesus and survive. We all live in different “seasons” of our lives. Each season has its own lessons to learn and goals to accomplish and hurdles to overcome. Some are personal and some are Spiritual. When it is time to move from one season to the next, we will.
What motivates one person is not what might motivate another. But, we are still all people, who want to live and earn a living and feel useful and to find happiness. How we do that is a lifelong journey that each individual has to make. We all will make mistakes and we all will be obnoxious and we all will be offensive. But hopefully in the end, we will be kind, compassionate, and recognize we are all alike and facing problems or situations that color our behaviour. We can live with each other and love each other and respect each other and still not agree or embrace each others passions. Sometimes it is better not to speak than to start a war that will last a long time.
The ones close to us know what we feel, what we believe and whether or not we might approve of their choices. It is not always necessary to attack them to reiterate our beliefs. Just because our passions or beliefs or political leanings are different does not mean that we are stupid, or illiterate, or uninformed.
So, I am conservative. I tend to be Republican. I am a Catholic, but am also a Christian and a Charismatic. I recycle some, but not avidly. I give to others and to charities, but sometimes look out for me or family first. I can see both sides of the situation and see good in both sides, but sometimes I wear blinders. I am white. I also grew up middle class verging on poor. I can’t help that any more than others can help what color they are. That doesn’t really matter. That is just skin. It DOES mean that we were probably raised differently, maybe with different opportunities or within different belief systems or environments. I had no control over that either.
Those things are just things. They helped to develop and shape us along the way. And the people we met, and the choices we made helped to form us into who we became.
That is how we live. We might be white, or black, or oriental or brown, but we are people. We have to understand that others might not see us as we want to be seen because they have not traveled along our path. Their path was different. It taught them different lessons. They didn’t experience what I did, and it is not their fault.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot be friends and coworkers and enjoy each others company, insight, life experiences and share in failures and successes. They are part of the journey as well.
And so, I am a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister, a grandmother, a woman, white, conservative, Catholic, and Republican. I also like chocolate, chips, mexican food, diet coke, being useful and productive and creative, and wish to be as independent as possible. I am kind, compassionate, empathetic and dependable. I am loyal. I can’t tell a lie without stammering. It is not something I ever learned to do. I read, I watch tv. I work. I spend time with my husband and daughter. I keep in touch with distant family by phone, text, messenger or Facebook. I try to be kind, but sometimes I am tactless. I try to be understanding, but sometimes I am selfish. Those are just some of the things I am. I am many things and do many things and enjoy many things. But most of all…I am just me.