Monday, July 11, 2016

for the love

Awhile ago, I had this idea to start a series here on the blog called "for the love" in which the girls and I would feature different things that we love...t-shirts, yarn, books, and one-pot meals were some examples that I came up with in my initial planning. But today, instead of talking about any of that stuff, which really doesn't matter at all in the grand scheme of things, let's talk about something different. My first official "for the love" post is this:  

For the Love of HUMANS.

When it comes right down to it, one of the things I love best is other people. I love spending time with family and friends, talking, laughing, learning new things about each other, sharing opinions and struggles and hopes and problems and dreams. I truly believe that ALL people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, political preference, and whatever other divisive category you can think of, deserve to be loved and respected. So after all the terrible things that happened last week, I'm feeling pretty embarrassed to be a human being right about now. Is it really that hard to extend kindness to someone who doesn't look like you? Is it really that hard to be respectful of someone who has a different opinion than you? Why must we continue to resort to screaming and name-calling and belittling and violence in the face of our differences? 

I've always been proud to be an American because of how tolerant we're supposed to be. I like that we're a melting pot of different cultures and ideals. But lately, it seems like everyone's picking a hard and fast side. And although I think it's fine to identify with one group or another, it's NOT fine to put others down or make them feel inferior because of what they have chosen or because of what they ARE. We ALL have a choice - you have a choice, I have a choice, and every other person on the planet has a choice - and it's completely crazy to think that we would all choose the exact same thing. And no matter what anybody chooses, in the end, at our core, we are all HUMAN. We eat, we sleep, and we die. All of us - no matter what other decisions we make in our lifetime. In the end, we all celebrate the good times, cry when things go wrong, yell when we're angry, and love those who are closest to us. We are all the same. 

And while I am not naive enough to think that every person everywhere in the world will always make the kind and respectful decision, and I know that there have to be punishments and systems in place when things go terribly wrong, I also know that I have another kind of choice. I can choose how to react to those who disagree with me, and I can choose how to react to people who make bad choices. Personally, my faith encourages me to love my neighbor as myself and pray for people who make poor decisions. To love them regardless of what they've done, and believe that they can change for the better. And while that's not always an easy thing to do and sometimes it's downright hard, I continue to do it because I believe that people really can change. I've seen many examples of it in my life thus far, and I know I will see many more.

It makes me so sad to think that my children will grow up in a world of increasing violence and hatred. Because of that, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a PRO-HUMAN post here today. I don't know what I can do to help stop the tragedies besides choosing not to sit still and be quiet about it. Enough is enough. It's time to choose kindness and respect and peace. And although I know that these paragraphs won't change the world, I am one more person standing up and saying out loud that I believe in humans. All of us. And I believe we can change. 

Smile. Be encouraging. Give up your seat. Help someone. Bite your tongue. Hug somebody. Pray. Surely we can all think of something small to do. Peace begins with me and you. I know we can do it, for the love of humans.

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