Up until now…

         When I’m exhausted, battling a sinus issue, and bouncing back from months of anxiety-related social withdrawal, it is really hard to keep my mouth shut on certain people’s posts. I guess tonight exists to teach me that we all have exceptions to social rules we’d like to be followed…
         See, I just saw a post about unity and respect that was shared to Facebook by someone who has specifically targeted the teen program I help coordinate, trying to get us shut down because we don’t fit her image of who should be volunteering at our shelter. In lieu of spouting off at her, I am examining my own self and my own behavior, looking for ways to grow. The lesson I am learning at the hands of someone I don’t appreciate nearly enough is hard to absorb, but it is necessary.
         If I’m being real right now and owning my actions, up until now I have not always appreciated people with differing views from my own. In fact, up until now… I have had a hard time accepting certain fundamental differences- and I probably haven’t handled that as gracefully as possible. Honestly, up until now I don’t think I was ready to learn this lesson. Here’s what changed that: a person who has fundamentally different views on youth and all they can accomplish (and has not been shy about expressing those views to me, around me, and about young people I care very deeply for) posted something that fundamentally lines up with a goal I hold for myself (to always choose kind). I’m not ashamed to tell you that seeing it STUNG. How could someone I was so angry at claim to believe something I do as well?
         And then I realized. While I might hold the belief that she could do a better job aspiring to this, she is doing her best. While I could DEFINITELY do a better job aspiring to this, I am currently doing the best I can as well. My reaction was not to the post, it was to the person who shared it… and frankly I have no place to judge her. We have our history, we will need to work together again… I need to be nice to her, right? WROOOONG. I need to choose kind because that is where this cycle ends. I choose kind because that is the expectation I set of others. I choose kind because the world is really good at choosing hurt instead, and I’m sick of feeding into that.
         If you’re still reading this, please pause for a second and think about what you would like to see more of in the world. Is it kindness? Is it peace? Is it polite discourse? Cool, now go show the rest of us how it’s done- no exceptions. Be a role model for the world and your world will change… I guarantee it.
         Me? I’m going to show the world how to choose kind.

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