I did something yesterday that I hardly ever do. I commented with an opposing opinion on someone else's facebook post and I did so quite sarcastically. Interestingly, by the end of my comment, I had begun to see something in myself that made me uncomfortable. It was a learning experience.
First, I need to remember not to invade another person's space with my opinions and belief uninvited. That is not conversation. That is argument. That is stirring up trouble simply because I want my opinion to be known more than I am willing to listen to another person.
Second, I learned that my reaction was really a mirror for myself. Why did I violate my own principle of not commenting on another person's Facebook? What was it about this particular meme that frustrated me? Am I guilty of the same thing?
I determined that I was. It is so easy to just click share and pass along images and memes on Facebook. Some of it is good stuff, wise words, encouraging words. Other things are soundbites, opinions, misinformation, incendiary words. I realized that sometimes it feels like we are all barricaded behind our phones and our computers and we are shooting off these bullets at each other, each one trying to make their side of the argument stronger than another. That is not conversation. That isn't even debate.
I want to be softer than that. If I have something to say, I want to say it not just pass along someone else's words without adding my own thoughts and questions. I want to create space for connection and conversation.
The second half of yesterday was full of my driving from this place to that place. Lots of time driving means that I have lots of time to think. I turned my thoughts about this particular situation over and over. Once I had become aware of the way I hadn't engaged in a mindful way, I still had the subject matter of that particular meme to ponder. I am not ready to write about it here because there is more that I want to learn. I want my thoughts to be as informed as possible.
As I thoght about this particular issue, I came to some concluding questions that can be applied to anything:
What do you believe?
What motivates your belief?
I spent many years motivated by fear and all the nuances of fear. My religion taught me to fear and that carried over into many aspects of my life. I was most impacted by the way that it pushed me into performance mode, making me strive to shape my life and my family life into some model of perfection. The natural connection with my children was tainted by trying to be a godly mother raising godly children. My relationship with my husband was always filtered through that performance trap. Love wasn't the motivation but it should have been. Weren't we taught also that god is love? So how does it all get twisted? How does fear become the primary motivation? That's a post, a long post, for another time.
I want to be motivated by love and all of its nuances. I want compassion and understanding to be the reason that I reach out to another person. I want to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to risk being rejected because the reward of being accepted is that great. I want to listen more than I talk because it's not all about me. I want to believe in the greater good of humanity. Fear has no place in the way that I want to be in the world. If it is foolish for me to believe that love can change the world, then color me foolish. I have to believe this. I have to believe that if we can lay down our weapons, literally and figuratively, and look into the eyes of the other, then love has a chance. I have to believe that love can change the world.
Whose with me?