It is January. January 21st, 2017. I lost my best friend 1 year, 3 months, and 12 days ago. I now call that day and the time leading up to that day, a wake up call. A time period that taught me many things, but most of all it taught me this: Life is short and life is meant to be lived.
And like others who have traveled a similar journey with a friend or family member, you end up saying that your “life after”will be different. You’ll do more of the things that matter. Love often. Take the high road or maybe take a stand. You’ll get off your phone and out of your house and live life just a bit more fully.
And then you don’t.
You’ve certainly changed in ways that will forever stay changed, but you sometimes fall back into those comforting old habits. The T.V. numbs and the phone provides a world that only demands the attention and interaction that you want to give it. Virtual reality relationships from afar along with words quickly typed feel good and efficient, right and real, but yet are really only easy. They’re shallowly convenient and they end up significantly short changing us out of a life of living. I know this because I end up slipping back into living shallow convenience.
Opportunity came to be a part of the 2017 Women’s March; I said yes and so did my 17 year old daughter. #WhyIMarch was the hashtag recommended to connect our pictures, our comments, our involvement with other marchers across the country.
It also became a rumbling thought throughout my head the entire day.
“Why Am I Marching?”
Attending the March wasn’t in opposition to Trump.
Although I think there is plenty to oppose.
It wasn’t about being anti-Republican.
Although, I often find myself being one.
It wasn’t about choosing democrats.
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
It wasn’t about being a poor loser.
I certainly can be one.
It wasn’t about putting others down who voted differently than I did.
I’m honestly really glad you just got out and voted.
It wasn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with everything the March stood for.
I didn’t go to throw insults nor did I want to hear them about someone else. I wanted to find and practice the wisdom that my dad often talked about when I was growing up. The idea that we often have to agree to disagree to move on. I wanted to see and practice the civility I believe starts the dialogue of learning from each other. A civility that allows our stances, convictions and truths to stand bravely alone even when apart from what our “red or blue team”, friends, or family think or say.
You see, I don’t think you need to be quiet about your opinion or your thoughts or the way things should be. I’m actually more worried when we keep shushing each other with our silence or with anger. We need to ask the hard questions and answer them when they are asked of us. We need to engage in calm conversations that start, nurture, and grow meaningful relationships with others who are different than we are. We all need to dig a bit deeper and listen more so that we learn that others have a different story than we do and that it probably hasn’t been so great to be one of the “only” or the “few”.
Thinking that we don’t need to challenge our political party, our families, our churches, or our co-workers about what has “always been” or what is wrong becomes comfortable and convenient, but ends up making us less of a great nation and an even more divided country.
By never asking those who are different than us what they think, or how they feel, or wondering what it must be like to walk in their shoes; we choose ignorance instead of understanding. We don’t have to always agree. We will disagree, but maybe we learn about someone or something that we didn’t know before and we let the learning make us wiser and kinder people.
It is a process and it requires practice, patience, and forgiveness with each other because being human is our shared, beautiful commonality. Grace wrapped up in practice, patience, and forgiveness that has generously been given over and over again to me.
“Why Am I Marching?”
To show my daughter Kylee that life is meant to be lived deeply. Stay out of the shallow end Dear One!
To build bridges with others I don’t know.
To join others who want their voices heard.
To gather with strangers and friends who want to see change in the world.
To practice civility and kindness.
To listen to others different than myself and learn from their voices.
To love others as myself.
Peace, Love, and Joy on a sunny, wintry day in Michigan.
Pictures From Today’s March…From Those Who Speak About What Matters to Them.
Who Don’t All Speak About What Matters To Me.
So I’m Agreeing To Disagree With Some and I’m Agreeing to Agree With Others.
May We All Keep Listening And Learning From Each Other.
(More pictures to come
& please feel free to share yours)