Our country is in a bit of an uproar these days. I'm sure you've all noticed the signs and the marching and the angry Facebook posts and Twitter rants and so on and so forth. It seems that everyone is upset by something, and the only thing to do is yell and fight about it. Well, I disagree.
I normally avoid political discussions like I would a hornet's nest, and if you're expecting a statement of my political beliefs here, you're about to be disappointed. What I have to say has NOTHING to do with political stances, government programs or individual politicians. This is about me and what I believe, in my heart, about how I should live in this world.
I believe in kindness and demonstrating love. I will not be mean or hateful towards anyone because of their skin color, religious beliefs, etc. If I have the right to hold my Christian beliefs close, then you have the right to your beliefs, period. I do not expect you to agree with me, nor should you expect me to agree with you in all areas; however, I would very much appreciate it if you would extend a similar level of kindness to me, despite our differing opinions. The fact that we see things differently is not a reason for animosity between us, it's an opportunity to talk honestly (and kindly!) about what matters to us and learn about each other more.
I believe that life matters. All life. I will do whatever I can to help those who cross my path, whether it's a young pregnant woman or an elderly person or a handicapped person or...oh jeez....a three-legged dog! I can't help everyone, and I can't "fix" life for anyone, but I can do my best to show love and kindness to those who need it. I will fail sometimes, and I'm sorry, but I'm human too. Just know that I care, and if I'm able to help you in some way, all I ask is that you pass that along to someone else.
I am convinced that we need to teach our children more about kindness and critical thinking and personal responsibility and how to actually live life, than how to look good or be popular or even get fantastic grades and have impressive college entrance essays. Teach the kids that other people are just as valuable, that sometimes getting what you want means a lot of hard work, that sometimes no matter how hard you work you don't get what you want. And sometimes that is not only okay, it's a blessing that you may not understand until years down the road. Show them how to be responsible for their words and actions, and how to think before they speak or act. Help them mature, not just grow older.
It breaks my heart to see the negative view many people have of marriage today. Marriage is a wondrous thing, a sacred thing, and it should be treasured and cared for and celebrated. If you care for someone enough to marry them, make it your goal to build them up, not tear them down. A friend said "Your spouse's name should be safe in your mouth" - meaning your spouse should never have to worry over what you say about them. Your husband or wife should be your favorite person, period. Choose them, every day, in every circumstance....choose them again and again and again, and let them see that you do. And laugh together. Laughter is a wonderful bonding agent.
Perfectionism is dangerous and very rarely helpful or positive, whether we turn it on ourselves or others. We're all living life one day at a time. Do the best that you know to do and go on. Want to have someone over for dinner but your house isn't HGTV-worthy? Go ahead! I have yet to have dinner with someone because I wanted to assess their home. If you're not a great cook, order pizza. The relationship is what matters. Have you always dreamed of taking a ballroom dance class, but you're worried you aren't coordinated enough? Do it anyway! The point is that you're trying something that makes you happy. If someone else wants to judge you, that's their problem with perfectionism, not yours.
So there you have it. I try to do my best, but sometimes I screw up. I'm impatient and lazy and grouchy and selfish and all those other things nobody want to admit to being....but I can also be loving and funny and creative and kind and generous. Just like you. Again, the question is what do you focus on? I want to live joy. I want to know that there are bad things and scary things out there, and some of them will hit far too close to home and some of them will never touch me, but I can still, always, choose how I react. I want to choose joy and kindness and grace, every time. I hope you do too.