To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, November 30, 2009

I recently had a moment when I felt afraid to speak my mind. This edge of the abyss ‘should I speak or should I go’ sensation is uncomfortable. These moments happen all the time, to everyone, on a variety of subjects. But I think the worst is when it happens with someone you love - and you don’t feel secure enough in your relationship with them to open up. Not even about something that worries you deeply.
I was taught from the time I was very young that people are people - regardless of their race, gender, religion, or whatever other discriminatory marker people choose to employ. I believe this with all of my heart. Unfortunately, these days, due to all of the media hooplah and political teeth gnashing, some of the people who instilled this magnanimous belief system in me in my boot up days have begun to make audible exceptions to this otherwise all encompassing rule. Now I hear that discriminating against people with alternate sexual preferences is considered ‘okay’ because 'people have a right to their opinion’. 
I’m sorry, but no. It’s not okay. 

I don't disagree that everyone has a right to their own opinion; of course they do. And I would never claim to know absolutely what’s right for someone else, or what they should and should not believe. But there is a very large difference between voicing an opinion and spitting poison. Whether or not you agree with a gay person’s right to marry (or even admit their own personal preferences aloud), it still does not give you the right to be verbally abusive towards them. 
People should be treated with respect and love. 
I don’t consider this a ‘liberal’ belief. I believe that it's a human one. I hope it is, anyway. I would hate to think a person’s politics have that big of an influence over the depth of their compassion.
When you’re following a recipe, one wrong ingredient can throw the whole dish. Too much salt, an under-ripe avocado, a timer off by ten minutes - there’s a balance and a necessity for at least semi-conscious attention to be paid.
Why is it so difficult, then, for us to take that extra moment to make sure we aren’t burning our relationships? Love and respect can shrink behind worry and fear with just a few words of hate, leaving behind a pile of shriveled carbon on the ruined baking dish of a previously rewarding and inspiring personal relationship. 
And the person who uses the hateful language isn’t the only one to blame in these situations. The rest of us, who sit idly by, letting the words be said without doing anything are equally as culpable. And it is our shame at our own lack of courage to speak up against such things that truly closes the deal. 

That's the case, anyway, for me.

I feel shamed for not raising my hand and saying 'please do not use that language around me, it's offensive'. I feel sad because I felt so adrift and alone that I couldn't say that to people I should have been fearless and welcomed with. I never want to feel that way again.

I'll close this up, because I realize it's just emotional yakking and no one's probably read this far anyway. I just want to put this out into the world, so that it exists somewhere other than the inside of my head: I've forgiven the people who spoke so caustically. I have yet to forgive myself. I'm not sure when I will.

We are all on this earth together, walking the road to death together, breathing each breath and creating each life, giving and teaching love. Why is it so very hard for some people to let love be their guide rather than hate? What's the point?

Anyway. I'm done.

No comments:

Post a Comment