Thursday, November 10, 2016

Are you on my team?

For about a year now the girls have been in charge of cleaning up the kitchen in the evenings after dinner.  It’s been an interesting process and sometimes things aren’t done exactly the way I would do them, but it’s been nice giving them a little responsibility and having one item off of my chore list as well. 

Last night we had takeout for dinner and one of my girls asked me what needed to be cleaned in the kitchen.  I reminded her to make sure all of the trash had been cleared, empty and load the dishwasher, hand wash a few items, and to wipe off all of the counters.  I asked her to use a wet, soapy rag to clean off the counters because there has been a little buildup on the surface.  She wanted to know exactly what that meant, and I told her to use a warm soapy rag and wipe all the pink surfaces (our counters are an oh-so-1980s mauve). 

A few hours later, after the girls were in bed, I went into the kitchen and discovered an item I told them to specifically hand wash was put in the dishwasher and the counters had not been wiped at all.  Chris came in and said, “You mean after all that discussion with the girls, they didn’t even wipe the counters?” This is not the first time a job has not been completed and I started complaining about how I feel like the girls don’t listen to me when it comes to completing their chores and then they look at me like I’m the bad guy when I ask them to do it again.  In the middle of my sentence, my husband held up a hand to stop me and got a rag and started wiping it himself. 

I immediately felt angry because I felt like he was dismissing my feelings and wasn’t allowing me to be upset.  I was mad because I wanted someone to validate me in my upsetness, and to see that I was feeling overlooked and not important.  I wanted him to understand that having a clean house is important to my general well-being.  I wanted him to agree with me.    

I just wanted him to be on my team. 

And, to be fair to him, I don’t think he was choosing to be on anyone’s team at the moment—I think he was just getting the job done so I would stop fussing.  But at that particular moment, I wanted him to be by my side and he wasn’t (at least not the way I wanted him to be).  Everything's fine, he's a great husband, and he knows he married a quirky girl.     

I think America is sort of feeling like that after the election.  We expect everyone to be on our team and our side and to agree with us, and we have folks losing their minds when they find out there are other opinions.  Our nation is divided over the results—some people are relieved and others are horrified.  I’ve seen some rude and offensive remarks from both sides of the political fence, and I’ve been so heartbroken over people’s comments on social media. 

The news tells us that the large amount of rural voters pushed Trump over the edge.  I live and work in a part of rural America and let me tell you--we are not unified over here, either.  It’s not an easy week to live in rural America.  There are people who are scared and people acting like complete jerks.  We cannot assume that the people we work with believe the same thing we do.  We cannot assume our family members agree with us.  We cannot assume the people who look and act like us feel the same way we do on the inside.  We also cannot assume that people who do not look and act like us are in opposition to our beliefs and voting preferences, either.  I’ve incorrectly made those assumptions myself and was completely shocked when I discovered people I know very well voted for a certain party (on both sides) because I had them pigeonholed as voting in the opposite direction. 

But I respect those people, and if they have something to say that is the opposite of what I have come to believe, I want to hear what they have to say. 

But hear me when I say this:  We cannot pack up our toys and walk away from the people who are simply different from us if we expect to unify our nation.  Being different is not the same as being offensive--in which case, unfriend away.  We should not blast people on social media if they merely supported another candidate and are excited or disappointed with the results.  We cannot say and share offensive things if we want to unify our people.  We have got to listen to the other side and consider their feelings come from a valid and important place as well.  Everybody's got a story and a history that develops their beliefs.  We need to take the time to listen. 

I’m also going to need my church folks to shut up and sit down because you are not advancing the Kingdom with the mean and offensive things you are saying.  Whether or not you like the results of this election, now is not the time to post things that are going to distance you from your message of Love.  Please go back and delete your hateful status updates and memes.

I’ve spent too much time on social media in general, and I feel like this whole situation is giving me too much anxiety and bad feelings.  I've had a knot in my stomach since I walked into the polling place on Tuesday afternoon and it's not getting any better.  This is not creating the peace I want in my spirit, and I’m going to need to step away for a bit.  I’m giving my husband my Facebook password and I’m going to use my time better doing the things that give me joy.  I’m planning to write a little and sit and consider and focus on what is truly good and lovely in my world.  I want to wear pajamas and sit in front of the fire.  I want to drink coffee and cocoa and snuggle in front of the tree.  I want to listen to music with my family and sing and dance.  I need a little time to fill my tank.  

Be kind everyone--see you in a few weeks.
xoxxo


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