Opposites aren’t always different

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window-933485_1920I started to write about some minor stuff today. You’ll see it sometime soon, but this happened – and I had to tell you about it.

Quick background: Bill Burton, my first and late husband, had four children when we got married. They were half grown already. Then we had Ana together. Bill’s kids started having babies, and I was a grandmother at 38.

Good golly, Miss Molly.

Taao was the first Burton grandbaby,  all grown up now and on his own. I don’t see him often, but we are Facebook friends, so I get an occasional glimpse into his life. Like this story he shared yesterday…

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper was in a big hurry. He drove out of a parking lot and cut off a LOT of people in every lane, creating quite the kerfuffle. As horns honked, Taao simply changed lanes and moved on, shaking his head in disbelief.

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper didn’t like Taao’s harmless form of disapproval. He caught up with Taao, rolled down his window and started a rather loud and heated conversation. Taao smiled, laughed, and kept driving.

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper did have enough time to continue his display of disapproval and aggravation. But this time, he didn’t stop with words. He held up a gun, making sure Taao saw it.

Yowzers!

Now at this point, I would have, oh – I don’t know… put on the brakes? changed lanes? wet my pants a little?

But Taao took a different route which, to say the least, scared the bejeepers out of me and his mom and dad and anyone else who read the account. He rolled down his window and asked, “What are you trying to do?”

And that was it. The man took off, almost wrecking his little car as he cut Taao off once again.

As you might expect, the FB comment section was a flurry of colorful language and interesting ideas. Most of them were either report the [guy] (there were various descriptors used)  or oh, my GOSH, be careful/safe/cautious…

Taao did make note of the license plate, color, and model of the car. And he did the right thing. He reported the incident to the police. Being threatened with a gun is no small matter, and he knew better than to ignore what could turn into something uglier.

But it’s what Taao said while reporting the incident that makes me so proud. These are his words:

In talking to the officer I made the conscious decision not to pursue it.
He asked if my life felt threatened. I said no.
He asked if the man looked dangerous. I said no.
He…looked like he was having a rough day and I literally watched his expression, when I asked him what he was trying to do, turn to what…am I doing? and he sped off.
I think he knows he made a mistake and we will leave it at that.

Oh, my. Every time I read those wise words I break down a little.

Taao and I are pretty different from each other in a lot of ways. The biggest gaps between us are distance, age, and faith. He lives across country from me. I’m, well, his grandmother. And Taao doesn’t believe in God.

But, my lovelies, just because we are different doesn’t mean we can’t build a strong relationship on love and respect. It doesn’t mean that Taao will always do the opposite of what I would do. It doesn’t mean that everything he does maligns what I believe so strongly. It doesn’t mean that I won’t talk to him about what is important to me. Or that when I do talk to him, he turns a deaf ear.

Do I pray with anticipation that someday Taao will get to know Jesus a little better? Sure I do, just as I pray for other family members and people I love, people I barely know, hate mongers, and those misled by liars and false prophets. I pray for government leaders and foreign tyrants, too. I don’t think any of them are too far from God to feel His love.

But today those differences are on the back burner.

Today I just want to tell Taao, I’m so proud of you.

 

Just b/c we’re different doesn’t mean we can’t build strong relationships on love&respect. Click to tweet.

 

 

 

 

 

So, let’s review

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athletics-659241_1920I’m just going to start with it.

Good golly, Miss Molly.

As a writer, I pray that my life matches my words. We all know it’s humanly impossible for me to live purely and consistently – doing exactly, every minute what I talk about with you. Like being brave or less worried about clutter.

Sometimes I do swing for the fences, working toward a life that honors God all the time, 100%. But the truth is this: if you’re batting 1000, you probably went up to bat only once or twice.

Unfortunately, we do not have that liberty. We go to the plate every single day. And living is just so daily. Most of the time, it’s the same old same old. Same drama in the news and at home. Same people talking too much, others not enough. Same people being hurt, same people being promoted.

This isn’t a political statement. It’s just true.

So, occasionally I return to my own words as a reminder of what I said and promised. I have to be diligent about walking the talk. And, of course, I crash and burn spectacularly in almost every category of life.

This morning, I re-read My 3-part check-up plan. If you don’t remember or didn’t see it, the short version is this: Do I love everyone?

Darn it.

I published that on January 20, 2017. Yeah, not even three weeks ago.

Please don’t ask me about all the times I felt less than love for someone. Reliving some of the more growl-y moments scrolling through Facebook is painful and embarrassing.

And that’s not all about politics either. Have you seen some of the nonsense that gets shared – endlessly? And some of the evil that happens right in front of our noses – in our own neighborhoods? And some of the “comments” which are simply rants and insults disguised as “opinion”?

What is happening?

I am equally annoyed by people who believe that there are quick fixes to every problem and those who believe that there is no hope because the world is just going to hell in a handbasket. Grrr.

Ok, some of it is political, too.

But I think you’ll find me nothing short of amazing. In fact, you could bet long money that I can break all speed and distance records when it comes to “jumping to conclusions.” Sometimes I can decide whether or not we can be friends simply by a single “thumbs up.”

And the effect of those assumptions makes a non-refundable impact on my commitment to love everyone.

Sure, I often change my mind, soften my initial knee-jerk reaction, and get to know the thumbs-uppers. Maybe I don’t meet them – literally or virtually – face to face, but because we have a mutual friend, I make peace with them. Good for me.

Of course, it’s not just social media. I find myself growling when I’m trying to turn left in traffic or while I’m shopping or standing in the USPS line.

But, honestly, my lovelies, what a waste of time and emotional energy.

I’m not sayin’ that we are gonna all be friends. I’m not sayin’ that we are all gonna EVER agree.

But that is absolutely not the point. The point is that we are called to love. Not “like” or “follow,” not get coffee with, not agree with, not excuse, not condone. Just love.

As I write these words, I hear the sound of a record skipping – “gotta love…”  “gotta love…”  “gotta love”  “gotta love…”  “gotta love…”  “gotta love”   “gotta love…”  “gotta love…”  “gotta love”   “gotta love…”  “gotta love…”  “gotta love”..

“gotta love”…

“gotta love”…

“gotta love”.

Maybe I’m the only one that needs to hear the same message over and over.

But I’m pretty sure we all need a little nudge every once in a while:

Love.

 

We all need a little nudge: love drives out hate, love casts out fear, love is the answer. Click to Tweet.