Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

One Nation, Under God

We teach our children to recite these words at a young age, but I must say I didn't really "get it" until I was out shopping the other day. Last summer I was privlaged to attend a wonderful self-improvement camp. They use a great analogy of being part of the same nation, the way Native Americans talked of nations. Because there is a lot of participation everyone feels pretty open and friendly towards each other while at camp. It was reflecting on this that brought about my great insight.

As I walked in to the store I looked over at a gentleman and smiled. He kind of nodded and looked away. It is amazing how much we as a society avoid eye contact with each other. When it does occur it seems awkward. The obvious gap saddened me. Suddenly I longed to be part of that "nation" again. As I contemplated this it began to dawn on me that this man and I were still part of the same "nation," not because of our nationality, but because of our home...Earth. Everyone on this planet is part of the same "nation." We are all going through this life the best we each know how at that point. If I extend myself to someone and they do not accept, it simply means they are in a different place right now. Perhaps the next person will welcome the connection.

I belive in God. More so, I belive in a Heavenly Father which means we are all His children. He loves each of us as His sons and daughters. If my blood sister does not respond favorably when I approach her, I am not all offended. I am concerned and offer more to her. When she is upset more love is always helpful. Should it be any different towards those I veiw as my spirit brothers and sisters?

Now what if we all took this approach to life? What if we all saw each other as part of the same community all striving together? What if we stopped assuming the other guy was out to get us and just assumed he was having an off day? What would happen if we all decided that rather than trying to offend, "the other guy" actually had our best interest at heart?

I once sat up very late holding my best friend as he cried, weeping the most bitter tears possible from the very depths of the human soul. His anguish for my well-being. He felt my religous convictions were damning me to eternal hell. I was so moved and touched by this. Although it did not change my beliefs in the least, it certainly drew us closer together as friends and increased my respect for him immensely. To feel so passionate about his beliefs and to care so deeply for me yet handle it with love not anger. How would this change the world? When we feel we are so right that the other person will suffer for all eternity for being wrong, what if we cried and offered love instead of yelling and fighting?

Better yet, what if we simply allowed others their beliefs? An agreement to disagree as it were. I am often complimented on how I handle the issue of homosexuality. My belief is simple. I belive it is wrong. This is my belief. Thus, I don't practice homosexuality. Now, when I meet someone who does belive in homosexuality do I tell them how bad and wrong they are? No. Why would I? They are entitled to their belief as I am entitled to mine. I don't like anyone telling me my religous preferences, parenting styles, or political convictions are "wrong" so why on earth would I do that to someone else?!?! If someone wants to know what I belive I am more than happy to share, discuss and exchange ideas. I do not argue, conjole or debate. That is not respect. Respect means accepting someone for who they are in that moment. It does not mean you have to agree with them, accept their beliefs as your own, or even like what they stand for. You accept that they are a person on this planet. They have feelings and thoughts just as you do. They are entitled to have their own opinions.

There is, of course, a line to this. Respect should be mutual. I do not condone in anyway the force of ideals onto another human being. Sharing, inviting, and the open exchange of ideas is wonderful. It is how we grow and enrich the planet. Yelling, forcing of one's will on another without invitation or consent, legal action without opportunity for objection, physical force...these are inexcusable.

These are my convictions and beliefs. We are all one Nation on this planet Earth. We are all under one God. Respect for each other is the best form of love that can be extended one to another.

Because these are my beliefs I can say to each of you: I love you, meaning I accept you for who you are right now. I respect you, I feel no need to force my will on you. And I don't care what you think of me in return. Have a GREAT day!

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