Dear Lord, save me from Facebook and politics!!

Friday was the first day of summer! If you are like us, we have had to wait quite a while for the warm weather. I don’t think I can ever remember wearing a jacket at the end of June.  There is something just not right with that picture…Anyway, I am so glad that the days are warmer and we can actually begin doing some of those wonderful summer activities. Hope you are enjoying this time of the year…

This past week, I had a friend post on Facebook, “I will no longer ever post any thing political…” Apparently, she had posted something very innocent on her page, and someone disagreed with her statement, and took her to task for it. Numerous supporters shared stories of how they had been “unfriended” by “friends” during the elections, because (very obviously) they were not voting for the “right” person. Still others told stories of being “viciously attacked” through words, simply because there was a difference of opinion. It is amazing to me that the ones who are so quick to pounce on someone for their views, will be the first to decry that their own rights are being violated if someone happens to disagree with them. Wow! The way I see it is that if you have the right (and feel compelled to do so) to voice your opinions in whatever way you want (interpret rant and rave) via Facebook, and I am forced to see it, look at it, think about it, be bothered by it, etc., etc., etc., then you should certainly give me the respect to hear my views and opinions. It should go both ways. 

I am so thankful that not everyone sees things the way I do. How boring life would be, and how limited my growth as a person would be. I love it when individuals in my conference sessions will raise their hand, and say, “I’m sorry, Ms. Selman, but I disagree with what you just said.” I always smile and say,”Wonderful! Tell me why you disagree!” For some, they cannot tell me WHY they disagree, just that they disagree. I toss those comments in the “do not be concerned about” file. However, for those who can share with me their opinions, thoughts, and views in an articulate, heartfelt, passionate manner, I LISTEN!! And beyond that, I learn from it. Some times those remarks actually give me new insight and I will change my opinion or perspective. Speaking of perspective, I discovered something interesting in the bathroom the other day. (No, don’t be alarmed, we are not discussing any body parts here…) It just so happens that I have a free-standing toilet tissue holder in my bathroom. I am one of those people who turns my toilet tissue so that it rolls “over” the top. As I was looking at it, I realized that someone had turned the toilet tissue to roll “under” – not the way I like it. As I was pondering that, I saw that no one had actually turned the toilet tissue ANY way. The stand had simply gotten turned around. So, if someone were looking at the stand from the left, the toilet tissue would be going over the top. If someone were looking at the stand from the right, the toilet tissue would be going under the bottom. I thought to myself, if you asked someone to tell you which way the toilet tissue was turned, you would get two different answers (depending on where the respondents were standing), and both answers would be absolutely correct!!

I have friends from almost every realm of the human species. Some are so conservative, with narrow thinking, and view the world one way, and one way only. Then we go across the spectrum, all the way to the other side, and I have friends that are so liberal, free-spirited, and free-thinking that it can almost take your breath away. And you know what? I would not trade any of them for any amount of money in the world. I love all of them, especially for their uniqueness and individuality. Each person that I come in contact with, who becomes a part of my world, I learn from. They either reaffirm what I know to be true and right within my own beliefs, or they open my mind to consider other perspectives, and it broadens my knowledge and my “personhood.” But I would only discover that if I am open-minded, willing to listen and share.

So, to my friend, I would say this: Do not give the control of what you say, write, or think to someone else, simply because they disagree with you. After all, we DO live in America, where you are supposed to be able to say exactly what you think…In fact, it is actually written into the Bill of Rights, and guaranteed by our Constitution! I, as well as countless others, are extremely interested in what you have to say, think, and do. And even if we disagree on some issues, I will show you the respect of listening, as this is a way that I can also grow and learn as a person. We should listen with an open mind to others’ thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and YES, even politics. It is called dialogue; it is called respect; it is called friendship. Those friends who “unfriend” you because you do not share their views, are probably not the people you want as friends to begin with, and how sophomoric is that? I intend to be the kind of friend that people are comfortable and safe with sharing their innermost thoughts and beliefs. Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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