Much has changed since my last blog post. Yes, it has been several years, but I only now feel comfortable posting again. At another time, on another day, I will share more about why I abandon my blog.
I did not, however, forget about it. Toward the end of 2020, I discussed with John (my adventure partner) getting back to it and his encouragement only motivated me more. So, here it is, my first post back.
If you’ve followed my blog in the past, you know that I often post about my lived experiences. I focus this blog on the responses I’ve seen by some I care about regarding the election of Joe Biden as President.
First, a bit of back story. Since the failed coup take over on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, I’ve been seeking to understand how those who’ve been loyal to Trump are making sense of that experience. One post I saw is that “they [the person writing the post] will accept and give the respect to Biden that Trump was given during his term”. This tit-for-tat, transactional choice got the wheels turning in my mind. It reminded me of being a child and using the justification that I shouldn’t be in trouble because I didn’t start it (as though that made it better). What is the goal of such behavior?
Then I saw another explanation that completely distorted multiple truths in an effort to me, that intentionally pushed buttons to further division. The post claims that in the future, when “Boys pretend to be girls” (referring to a transgender person), we will be forced to pretend right along with them. It also asked if there is something wrong with the Census only counting Americans in America? There was more, for certain, and I did think: “I can go point by point through the list to argue back, but where will that get me?” (Side note: I worked the Census, so I do have thoughts about it.) Still, I find myself believing that sharing with any in need (which is what the Census data is used for), when it does no harm to us (being out a bit of money is not harm), seems a good way to go…a better-to-be-safe-than-sorry type of situation in my mind. Again, I wonder, “What is the goal of such a post?”
All of this was in my head and, after heating up a bean stuffed animal I call Owly to place my often freezing cold left foot on so that it would feel “normal” (see previous blogs to understand my left foot), I was reminded of a Parker Palmer quote:
“The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.”
This quote helps remind me of the importance of experience. It is so easy to sit inside and complain about the winter weather but getting outside helps you to see the beauty that exists even in the cold weather. Getting the winter experience forces you to no longer view winter as only bad.
Furthermore, to treat another like they’ve treated you, the tit-for-tat approach mentioned earlier, requires understanding what others have been through/how they’ve come to their thoughts. Such understanding requires getting to know others…hanging out in their world a bit and trying your hardest to see it from their perspective. I don’t believe understanding another’s perspective is the goal of a list of mistruths so easily copied, pasted, and shared. What I do know, however, is that seeking to understand another’s perspective is what I believe is desperately needed right now. Another Palmer quote comes to mind and I hope we remember it as we go forward in 2021:
“For the more we know about another’s story, the harder it is to hate or harm that person.”
It will take courage and bravery to do so, but we are in this together.