Posted in Life As I Know It, Soapbox

One Small but Powerful Step in the Right Direction

Some say we are hitting an exhaustion factor when it comes to thinking about America’s “new reality.” OMG…if I have to read or hear ONE MORE THING about the presidential election, I’m going to lose it! Enough already! 

But if this whole experience has taught us anything, it’s that any time you throw your hands up and say, “I’m out,” you lose whatever chance you had to make a difference. Continue reading “One Small but Powerful Step in the Right Direction”

Advertisements
Posted in Life As I Know It, Soapbox

Do You See That Love Is the Mortar That Binds Us Together?

I love looking at things in new ways or finding meaning where none existed before. Such was the case when David, a friend of mine, shared with me what he learned about one of the brick walls in our church. Continue reading “Do You See That Love Is the Mortar That Binds Us Together?”

Posted in Life As I Know It

Breathing Grace

So…2016…you have only begun to reveal yourself. Years from now—Lord willing—if I look back on you, what will come to mind? Will it be another year of remembering very specific challenges or milestones? Unremarkable? Amazing? One that I’d rather forget? Continue reading “Breathing Grace”

Posted in Soapbox

Time to Cross the Bridge

There were some inspiring acceptance speeches given at last night’s Oscars. From Patricia Arquette to Graham Moore, several recipients chose to speak their hearts, and it made the very long telecast that much more compelling.

 

inspiration

 

John Legend and Common’s performance of “Glory” was absolutely beautiful, and when they accepted the Oscar for Best Original Song, their words spoke to my heart. Common recalled performing the song at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and how the bridge was “built on hope, welded with compassion, and elevated with love for all human beings.” Powerful and eloquent.

In 2015, we still need to cross that bridge. We have not yet made it to the Promised Land.

Back in 2013, I wrote a post titled “My Problem with Tolerance.” Though it is neither powerful nor eloquent, I am sharing it again here because it expresses my thoughts on one of the things I think we need to acknowledge if we are ever going to completely cross that bridge.

Don’t you think it’s time?

 

Originally posted on October 14, 2013.

 

My Problem with Tolerance

 

salad 3

Please note: this post may have an idea or two that you are not comfortable with, along with an extreme overuse of quotation marks and italics. There may also be some rambling. Proceed at your own risk.

I have an issue with the notion of “tolerance” as a way of coexistence.

When I hear people who are “in favor of tolerance,” I wince a bit. Why?

Here’s my issue: tolerance, by way of definition is a capacity to endure pain or hardship…sympathy or indulgence for differing beliefs…the act of allowing something…the allowable deviation from a standard.

Tolerance implies “permission” from an “authority” or “sympathy” for the different. I find it condescending.

I don’t want tolerance. I need acceptance.

Now, for me, there are times the word tolerance is spot on. For instance, I will use it with my son (“I will not tolerate your using the dog like a wheelbarrow”) because I am an authority figure (most days) for him, trying to set healthy boundaries. Other instances where this word makes perfect sense is in not tolerating abuse of others or the breaking of a law. As the definition goes, these things deviate beyond the standard. I have no issues with not tolerating pedophiles or rapists or anyone else who hurts another.

But it’s not up to me to tolerate another person’s race, religion, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation…or any other kind of law-abiding “type.”

It is not mine to offer “sympathy” for what might be different from me. Who am I to tolerate another person’s nationality? And on the flip, who is tolerating mine? Should I breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t hear so many mafia jokes now that The Sopranos is off the air?

To me, it all boils down to Differentism. It’s the one ism that encompasses all the other discriminating isms—because all of them are about being different in one way or another. And what is at the core of Differentism? Fear. Fearing that which is different from you. (Or that you at least think is different from you.)

To me, it is fear that causes so much pain.

Cultures that oppress women and deny girls an education…what on God’s green earth would be a legitimate reason for wanting to keep someone uneducated? Why wouldn’t we be cheering for the support of raising up more women like the young Malala Yousafzai? The more we educate everyone, the better our overall world will be. Why would anyone want to keep another in the dark if not for fear?

Of course, the answer might also be “hatred,” but that is rooted in fear, too, isn’t it?

We fear what we don’t know or understand.

The one thing I see that helps overcome this is…learning. Talking. Connecting. Striving to understand. Realizing we are more alike than different. And while that which is different may not be our cup of tea, it’s not ours to throw stones at, either. Or to “put up with.”

As an American, I am blessed to be a part of a country that reflects the faces of many nations. Unless you are a Native American, your ancestry will cross at least one border. It’s a huge part of what makes us who we are. Our country is not a pedigree but a mutt (and if you’re a dog fan, you know that pedigrees can be sickly and quirky due to keeping the blood so “pure,” but mutts are strong and full of personality). Why are there those of us who see it as “us vs them”? We are both!

But I don’t want America to be a melting pot. You know why? Because it takes and makes everything into one thing—it boils it all down and blends it all up. I want America to be a delicious salad with all sorts of ingredients tossed together that enhance the whole dish. Together better than apart. But not all homogenized–still with the qualities that make us who we are. That shouldn’t just be the American Way, but the way of the world…at least according to me.

We don’t need to tolerate one another. We need to understand, love, support, help, and even celebrate one another.

If you’re still reading this rambling manifesto, go pour yourself a glass of wine (or beer. or vodka. or one of each. or more). You deserve it. But I hope that my tossed salad offers some food for thought about the nuances of the words we use when we talk about one another.

I don’t want you to tolerate me. I hope that you can accept me as I am: a goofy, flawed, work-in-progess.

And I’ll do the same for you.

 

Please note that there may be advertisements below via WordPress.com.
The presence of these ads does not constitute endorsement of the information, services, or products found in them.
Posted in Life As I Know It

Can’t Wait for the Weight

My niece’s wedding is a few weeks away. Heavier than I’ve ever been…except for pregnancy (and I’m pushing that), a few months ago I thought, “If I could just lose a pound a week…maybe I could look good for the wedding!”

Of course…that didn’t happen.

 

scale

 

And now I am left with either feeling the absolute weight of my weight—and all the bad stuff that comes with that—or really trying to accept myself for who I am—someone who has “more to love.”

Do you ever feel like you’re missing the life you have for the life you’re never going to get? In feeling bad about myself, days tick by—ones I’ll never get back. To what end?

 

boxing glove

 

Now, I’m not saying I should give up the pursuit of trying to feel and look better—to be healthier—but I do need to stop beating myself up for those extra pounds. That’s no way to use the life God has given me.

Of course, I say this, I know this, but I don’t truly feel this. So many of us fight this battle. The mirror is the enemy. Photos are wince-inducing. The internal “little voice” hurls negatives at every turn. Failure.

Even my about-to-be 88-year-old mother is down enough about some additional pounds she has recently acquired that she’s commented that she just may have to skip her granddaughter’s wedding…Of course, while this is pretty much an idle threat, it illustrates the depths of her frustration with herself. Age does not necessarily breed wisdom.

Of course, me being me, I encouraged her to realize that no one will be looking at her weight—they’ll just think it’s great that a grandmother gets to see her granddaughter get married. “You can’t let a few pounds stand in the way of being a part of a wonderful experience, Mom. Don’t let the negative win over the positive…”

And it was in that very moment of cheerleading for my mom that I thought how very hypocritical I was being. How could I expect her to take what I was saying to heart when I felt so similarly?

 

pep talk

 

Isn’t the negative winning in my own body battle?

Don’t I need to shut my little discouraging voice up and tell her to hit the %#$*ing road?

What if…what if…I grabbed onto my love handles and…didn’t hate them? What if I looked at my “extra me” and said “It’s okay if you never go away. These bumps and curves do not define me…they just are me…a part of me that doesn’t take away from the rest of me.”

How would it feel to let that sense of failure go?

I can’t honestly answer…because I’m not there…yet.

I am striving to make this truth, but it is a major struggle.

Because attempting to “accept myself” aside, I still want to lose every damn extra pound hanging around. There is no loving the love handles. Not yet.

Ultimately, I think this is the dichotomy that I must accept: To strive to fall in love with my body regardless of its shape, while at the same time attempting to put it in the best shape possible. Not so that I won’t hate the reflection in the mirror, but so that I will take care of myself and feel my best both inside and out.

Not settling, but not loathing, either.

I can’t wait for my weight to go down so that I feel better—and I can’t let my “more” make me feel “less.” Life is too short.

But as is the case with so many emotional things we can approach intellectually, it sure as hell is easier said than done.

So I strive…and stumble…and strive some more. And stumble some more. In fact, I think it should count as exercise! But I am not giving up the struggle.

 

shoes2

 

I have no idea what I’m wearing to my niece’s wedding, but I know I will aim to look my best, curves and “extras” included, and with the haunting of the “pound a week” failure knocked off the guest list.

At least until the wedding photos come in…

Posted in Soapbox

My Problem with Tolerance

salad 3Please note: this post may have an idea or two that you are not comfortable with, along with an extreme overuse of quotation marks and italics. There may also be some rambling. Proceed at your own risk.

I have an issue with the notion of “tolerance” as a way of coexistence.

When I hear people who are “in favor of tolerance,” I wince a bit. Why?

Here’s my issue: tolerance, by way of definition is a capacity to endure pain or hardship…sympathy or indulgence for differing beliefs…the act of allowing something…the allowable deviation from a standard.

Tolerance implies “permission” from an “authority” or “sympathy” for the different. I find it condescending.

I don’t want tolerance. I need acceptance.

Now, for me, there are times the word tolerance is spot on. For instance, I will use it with my son (“I will not tolerate your using the dog like a wheelbarrow”) because I am an authority figure (most days) for him, trying to set healthy boundaries. Other instances where this word makes perfect sense is in not tolerating abuse of others or the breaking of a law. As the definition goes, these things deviate beyond the standard. I have no issues with not tolerating pedophiles or rapists or anyone else who hurts another.

But it’s not up to me to tolerate another person’s race, religion, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation…or any other kind of law-abiding “type.”

It is not mine to offer “sympathy” for what might be different from me. Who am I to tolerate another person’s nationality? And on the flip, who is tolerating mine? Should I breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t hear so many mafia jokes now that The Sopranos is off the air?

To me, it all boils down to Differentism. It’s the one ism that encompasses all the other discriminating isms—because all of them are about being different in one way or another. And what is at the core of Differentism? Fear. Fearing that which is different from you. (Or that you at least think is different from you.)

To me, it is fear that causes so much pain.

Cultures that oppress women and deny girls an education…what on God’s green earth would be a legitimate reason for wanting to keep someone uneducated? Why wouldn’t we be cheering for the support of raising up more women like the young Malala Yousafzai? The more we educate everyone, the better our overall world will be. Why would anyone want to keep another in the dark if not for fear?

Of course, the answer might also be “hatred,” but that is rooted in fear, too, isn’t it?

We fear what we don’t know or understand.

The one thing I see that helps overcome this is…learning. Talking. Connecting. Striving to understand. Realizing we are more alike than different. And while that which is different may not be our cup of tea, it’s not ours to throw stones at, either. Or to “put up with.”

As an American, I am blessed to be a part of a country that reflects the faces of many nations. Unless you are a Native American, your ancestry will cross at least one border. It’s a huge part of what makes us who we are. Our country is not a pedigree but a mutt (and if you’re a dog fan, you know that pedigrees can be sickly and quirky due to keeping the blood so “pure,” but mutts are strong and full of personality). Why are there those of us who see it as “us vs them”? We are both!

But I don’t want America to be a melting pot. You know why? Because it takes and makes everything into one thing—it boils it all down and blends it all up. I want America to be a delicious salad with all sorts of ingredients tossed together that enhance the whole dish. Together better than apart. But not all homogenized–still with the qualities that make us who we are. That shouldn’t just be the American Way, but the way of the world…at least according to me.

We don’t need to tolerate one another. We need to understand, love, support, help, and even celebrate one another.

If you’re still reading this rambling manifesto, go pour yourself a glass of wine (or beer. or vodka. or one of each. or more). You deserve it. But I hope that my tossed salad offers some food for thought about the nuances of the words we use when we talk about one another.

I don’t want you to tolerate me. I hope that you can accept me as I am: a goofy, flawed, work-in-progess.

And I’ll do the same for you.