I have friends who are single, who are married, who have children, who never want to have children, who are straight, who are gay, who are black, who are muslim, who are atheist, who are Christians, who are Christian and deeply disagree with the LGBT lifestyle, and who are Christians and gay. I have a lot of friends who are democrats, and friends (ok make that friend) who voted for Trump. This is relevant because I recently met with a woman who I probably agree with on almost everything with. Being in her presence made me long for more of that solidarity. I thought about how much I wanted to hold on to her and a handful of others and run away with my babies. I wanted to spare my daughters of all the unkind and ignorant people. I was so deeply saddened by all that I saw going on in the world, that I just wanted more educated, loving people surrounding me and my people.
Last week I talked with one of my favorite friends who happens to be gay. We talked about the march and how encouraging it was, among many other things. The following day I met with a life long friend who could not understand why women were marching, and made a few comments that felt were really out of touch, but she was more or less not against it, but thought it was strange. Later I talked with someone who assumed that everyone marching was about abortions. The fact that this was the take away made my stomach ache. In a few days time I had connected with three different women who had dramatically different views on the world. Being friends or acquaintances or family with these people made it impossible for me to walk or away or delete them on social media. I realized the importance of this and instantly regretted ever thinking or saying such a thing about wanting to surround myself around people who are just like me. I realized THIS IS the problem. We don’t have faces and stories of people who have different opinions and values. There is a them rather than a personal name and life story. Having a name changes everything. Having intimate friendships, knowing who people are and why they have come to their conclusions is really important. Remaining in community with them, even when their views might make your skin boil at times. This is the unconditional love, that without keeps us at war with our own bodies, ourselves, and the entire world. This is what bans different type of people from entering countries and this is what builds walls.
I have a voice, and it brews throughout my day and it unravels into my husbands ears each night. Lately I have felt so guilty that this is it, all it amounts to is a safe and intimate unraveling for just one person. It is so tempting to jump on the wagon of hating on the other side, which is seemingly working against everything that is good in the world. I see injustice and inequality that makes me weep. It pains me to know that some people actually support what is happening right now. I do have a “side,” and I feel like I am screaming inside. But I also knowing that pushing away those people I don't agree with is only perpetuating the problem. I’ve been told my whole life that you become who you hang around. If this is true, I have become a little bit of everyone, from many backgrounds and opinions. And while sometimes I wonder if this translates to non committal and spineless, I choose to believe that this is not the case. Maybe it's not so much their beliefs that I take on but rather an understanding of what life feels like in their shoes. I hope that I am simply leaving a safe space for everyone, because I fear that the alternative is becoming exactly what I hate, only with different opinions and preferences. And it would be a shame to come so far only to continue the cycle of misunderstanding. But I don't know for sure, this is just where I am at today. There is always tomorrow.