I posted this on Facebook a couple of days ago. It seems appropriate here.
"I hate raspberries!" "Isn't that strong emotion for raspberries?", the daughter replied. "No. I hate them", the mother stated. Just a tidbit from a conversation I overheard in Lucky's Market in Billings yesterday. I have to agree with the daughter. To put that kind of negative energy into anything seems excessive.
Unfortunately, it seems to be the way of the world. We are thriving on 'hate'. Hating those with different skin color, different faiths, different clothes, different preferences--sexual, food, ideas. Why? Why are we investing so much energy into hate?
I chanced upon the PRIDE parade while I was in downtown Spokane Saturday. All of these people coming together to support the LGBQT community. Heterosexual people, gay people, single people. Health centers, faith communities, congressional candidates. Young, old and in-between. A rainbow of beautiful colors, people and preferences. Of course, in the middle of it, on a trailer, with a megaphone and loudspeakers was a hate-filled man. Calling them sinners. Telling them they were going to burn in hell.
I'm a cradle Catholic and have always had a very strong faith. A year ago I stood in support of the Supreme Court's decision to make gay marriage legal. I have friends who are gay. I think if you are lucky enough to find one person in this life to love and who loves you in return--you are blessed!!! You should be able to marry. One of my "so-called friends" decided to tell my parish priest that I stood in support of gay marriage on Facebook. (Apparently, they didn't follow me very closely as it wasn't the first time. Maybe it was the fact that I included that they upheld the Affordable Care Act.) My parish priest immediately suspended me from being able to share Eucharist in my parish. My heart was broken. Eucharist, and being able to share it with others in my parish, is very important to me. Had he approached me with love, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness, I may have had greater respect for his viewpoint. Instead, it was done with intolerance and lack of respect for me as an individual.
I just think if we could approach each other with love, compassion, tolerance and kindness we would live in such a better world. We'd have better relationships. Our days would be so much better. My friend, Eran Thompson, called me on a meme I posted yesterday.
It said, "Make America kind again". He asked, "When was America ever kind?" It made me sad. Because thinking about it, I realized it was true. We have been a world of HATE for a long time.
I think we can change that. Each one of us. One by one. If just each one of my friends vowed that for the next week they were only going to treat others with LOVE, COMPASSION, TOLERANCE, RESPECT and KINDNESS, imagine how much better our world would be. I encounter roughly fifty to one hundred people on any given day. I vow to treat them only with LOVE. I will open doors. I will pay compliments. I will smile. And I will look them in the eye while I am doing it. I will mean it. If you see or hear me doing otherwise, call me on it.
Don't say you hate anyone or anything. Yes, I HATE intolerance. But if I focus on that fact, then I create that atmosphere of hate and the rest of my world falls into that. Instead, I support tolerance. Can you do that?
I'll admit the one thing I have to change. I keep calling Donald Trump an idiot. I don't hate him. I won't invest that kind of energy into him. And my friend, Linda Lang, said, "He's not an idiot. He's saying what people want to hear." I don't believe we want to hear that hate that he spews. He's no different than the man at the PRIDE parade. If they would both turn their energy into LOVE, COMPASSION, TOLERANCE, RESPECT and KINDNESS, they would both reach more people.
Just a week. Try it. Let me know if you're with me. We'll keep each other built up with LOVE! Don't hate raspberries. Their not worth it.
(I apologize for rambling. I've just had these thoughts for days and had to get them out. I don't think I've written an essay since college. Don't hate me. And don't hate raspberries.)
And a comment I posted later:
What I would have said about the Orlando situation is that until we as a nation decide that no citizen needs to own an assault rifle the violence isn't going to change. If the shooter hadn't had an assault rifle he could not have killed fifty and injured fifty three. And I know people say "Guns don't kill people, people do." But if that person doesn't have a gun it certainly cuts down on the people he can kill. I read Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords book after my niece Keli gave it to me for Christmas. Two well-respected Republicans calling for better gun control laws. So far I've not heard that anyone I know has been asked for their guns. My dad, brother, brother-in-law and nephew all own guns--for hunting. They are unloaded in the house. They respect the power of the weapon and treat it with great respect. The NRA needs to wake up--they are part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution.