My best lady, Miss Taylor, says that it’s hard being a liberal in the mid-west. It stings a little to hear her say it because I am only just now coming to terms with the hard truth that I am, indeed, a liberal. When it becomes topic of conversation with people I don’t know very well, I often quickly explain with, “I don’t want babies to be aborted!” As if that’s the tip of the spear that makes all people liberals. They just blink and look at me, speechless for a long awkward moment. “Well, I don’t,” I say, blushing.
But Taylor is right. It is hard being a liberal in the mid-west AND being active in the church (and I mean the church as a whole body, not my personal church). You quickly become an oddity. You become wildly unpopular on all the social networks, at least if you’re as opinionated as me—and I am definitely opinionated on all the hot button topics. I guess I don’t have to be. Maybe it would take greater courage to be quiet? But I don’t think so.
Anyway, so there’s me. I homeschool my children. I have tattoos and wild hair. My kids can wear whatever they want, so long as it is modest—which means they often look funny, too. They don’t know how to tie their shoes, because in the four years of homeschool, I’ve failed to teach that ONE thing. Two out of three of them love coffee and the eldest two know lyrics to various Smashing Pumpkins songs. They all share a room, out of necessity at the moment, but maybe always simply because I love this tribe vibe going on. We read Harry Potter (Gasp! Seriously, that’s a big deal in my circles) and have Harry Potter parties where we decorate and dress up and watch the movies together. I give my son cereal for dinner most nights because he refuses to eat anything that isn’t hamburger…
I am not perfect. We are not perfect.
But we want kindness and love and joy with each other, out of each other, and from others. It’s funny though, because we are all as equally hot tempered as the other and it’s often VERY hard for us to get love and joy and kindness out of one another, let alone give it to others. Yet, it’s our goal and a steady requirement that we set each morning, even if we failed the day before (we often do).
Why can’t that be a national goal? A goal of the church? A goal set daily for our political parties? Why do our differences automatically make it difficult to form relationship with one another? And why do words like love, kindness, joy and acceptance become laughable words that only the wimpy “politically correct” want? Can you imagine a government that opened each morning with a bowl of Captain Crunch, hot coffee, a chapter of Harry Potter read in a British accent and then broke with a pep talk something like, “Alright, we’re going to be nice to each other today. We’re going to be good and do good. We’re going to get along. Deal?” I know…not realistic at all. But when did we stop treating others as if they need the same vital things that we do? Love. Kindness. Joy. Acceptance.
Such vital, necessary things…
But I'll tell you an honest truth about me that isn't easy to admit. I've often deleted people from social network because of the hurt their posts and opinions have caused me. I'm just as guilty. My skin is thin. I'll admit that. I, too, am part of the problem. This morning, I thought a lot about how many times Donald Trump has been kicked in the junk and speculated that it probably wasn’t nearly enough times. That was not very kind on my part, I'm sure. I may or may not have pictured myself kicking him in the junks.
I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what the plan is or what it should be. I just know that I am pretty stinking tired. It’s tough being a liberal in the mid-west and in the church of the mid-west. Yes. Yes, it is.
I wonder it I can make it through this election season...if we will all still be able to do life together...
It’s going to be a long, long, long season.