Lesson #3: Learning to Listen
If there is anything ‘certain’ about this election, it is that a whole lot of people do NOT feel listened to! As analysis of ‘who voted and why’ is shared, we’re seeing just how deep the hurt has been to the every day workers who are the backbone of this country. And now watching disturbing news reports of college students and many other groups not just protesting but rioting in the streets suggests that everyone – young, middle aged and old – have reached their limit. We can only ‘stuff’ our pain in the bag so long until it erupts.
Yesterday I came across an article written by John Pavlovitz sharing the ‘deep grief’ and fear that Clinton supporters feel in their loss. A commenter invited people from ‘the other side’ to share what they would be grieving if the results were reversed. Both the article and the comments are an insightful read … if we’re willing to put our hands in our laps, take a deep breath, look the ‘other side’ in the eye and FIRST listen. Deep breath … then give a heartfelt insightful response … and keep the conversation going.
Here’s a link to the article:
Here’s my response:
First, I would want you to know that I can feel the pain expressed here – it is real. Loss is loss and pain is pain, no matter the source, and I hope you will find strength to move through each stage of grief, and in time, find the ‘other joys’ that pain can bring. I want you to know that even though I voted for Trump, I am grieving over what this election process has revealed is no longer valued in a country I love. Honest hearts. Truthful speech. Kind speech. Integrity. Trust in public officials. Justice. Rational thought. Common sense.
If Ms. Clinton was President, I would deeply grieve over people as well, the smallest most fragile people whose lives are taken from them before they have a chance to breathe earth’s air. 60 million of them and counting … And for the loss of the common sense that sees this child sacrifice on the ‘altar of convenience’ as ‘progressive’ and labels those who seek to address the root issues of crisis pregnancies rather than deal with ‘symptoms’ as ‘backward’.
I grieve the loss of the beauty of purity and a healthy innocence that honors the gift of marriage as given by the Creator of marriage. In assuming we have the right to make it into what we think it should be, we have forfeited the pleasure & protection God intended for it to provide and are destroying the very fabric of our society. It makes me weep to see such pain and brokenness in homes!
I grieve the loss of the basic freedoms granted in our Constitution which has been defended with the blood of millions of patriots. I have the right to free speech – to teach my children and grandchildren and share respectfully in the public arena my heartfelt conviction that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman, and that sex outside of that marriage relationship is not good, without being labeled a ‘hater’ and without the fear of being sued for ‘hate speech’. If I own a florist or bakery or event venue, I should be able to run my business without being forced to violate my conscience. I don’t hate anyone who thinks differently, but I have a right to disagree and act according to my beliefs. When that right is challenged, I tend to become defensive, and I really don’t like living that way. Tolerance & respect is a 2-way street, not the billy club it’s become. It seems to me it’s being used in the same way Mr. Pavlovitz decries … to threaten & silence.
I grieve the loss of safety and security in my country. I love internationals – I have hosted many in my home for short & long-term stays, including Muslims, and have friends I love around the world. My heart cries for the refugees – I give money to organizations who are on the ground helping them. But opening our borders to anyone and everyone and refusing to call Muslim terrorism what it is for fear of ‘offending’ is irresponsible and benefits no one except those who would do us harm. Guarding our borders by respecting established legal processes for entry while opening our hearts and helping these countries solve their problems so their people can live there in peace will be messy, but is 1 of the primary functions of government. In my Bible, no ‘institution’ is ever commanded to care for the poor and hurting … individual people are. There are many good organizations doing that and people should be encouraged to get involved. Giving freely has far more benefits than be ‘taken from’ by big govt. taxes.
Finally, I grieve the loss of integrity in my world. I find it very unstable to live in a world with no ‘True North’, no compass, no ‘I-beam’ that holds a complex structure together. Absolute truth is that I-beam, that compass … when a person’s ‘yes is yes’ or ‘no is no’, when what’s right for me is right for you, when I give the same answer today as I do tomorrow, when there is right and wrong, when I submit to authority even if I’m guilty instead of blaming someone else for my choices … that is a stable foundation on which to live. Without that, it’s a ‘dog-eat-dog’, ‘every man for himself’ kind of world. I grieve the loss of a culture that valued truth over ‘convenient truth’, service to others over self, and self-control over pleasure and self-indulgence. May we all find our way forward to that kind of wonderful life.
Let’s keep a respectful conversation going!