Where I Was When Love Won

My students like to ask me where I was when historical stuff happened. Most of them start somewhere in the 80’s, but some are smart asses and ask me where I was when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. They fail my class, by the way.

I kid.

But it’s always interesting to me how quiet students get when they get to hear a first-hand account of something from history.

Where were you when John Lennon was shot?  I was only two, so probably at home.

What about when the Challenger exploded?  I was elementary aged, but I don’t remember where I was. I remember it happening and that it was a significant event.

And when they torn down the Berlin wall? Again, elementary age, but I was told “This will be in history books,” and that shocked me.

How about when Kurt Cobain died? High school English class. We didn’t have MTV, so I hung on everything my friends told me. It was the first celebrity death that really affected me.

9-11? Teaching Exploratory Spanish to sixth graders.

Did you vote for Obama? Our first black president? I did. But not because he’s Black. Which is probably even more historical. People voted for him because they believe(d) in him.

Some day they might ask me last week’s SCOTUS ruling. My own kids might ask me too.

Because my own children–ages 6 years, 3 years, and 4 months–will never know what it’s like to not be able to marry who you love because of the law.

I was thinking about that the other day. My dad was born in 1950. Segregation was still a thing, although he probably didn’t see it first hand because of the tiny, almost all white, Michigan town he lived in (and we still live in). It wasn’t until he was seventeen years old that interracial marriage became legal.

I can’t imagine that now. We have interracial marriage right in our family and it’s hard to imagine that they were just not allowed to do it because of a dumb law just fifty-two years ago. There were people who vehemently opposed interracial marriage then mostly citing Biblical passages.

I never knew that time.

And my children will never know that gay marriage was not legal. They will not live through all of the hate-filled Facebook posts or people cherry-picking Bible verses to support their hate.

By the time Eddie and Charlie and Alice are at an age to get married, they won’t have to worry if the person they love is a different race or religion or the same sex. They can marry that person and enjoy all the same government benefits as us straight white people.

I’m not a political blog even though I am a political person.

I don’t strive to be a controversial blog, even though in real life I will discuss hot topics with you all day long.

I don’t always write about the latest news items, but this one had me thinking about my parents and the history-making events and decisions that they lived through: Desegregation, Roe vs Wade, Vietnam, Watergate, the JFK assassination, etc. I wonder what it would be like to have their thoughts from when those things happened.

And so, because this is history that I thought my children would like to have my thoughts on, I am saying this: I am proud of the Supreme Court. I am proud of this decision.

We still have a long way to go in our country as far as eliminating prejudice and awarding equal rights to everyone. I have family, friends, colleagues, former students, and current students who face difficulties every day because of who they are. They fight for rights that should be theirs just by being citizens of the USA.

I am an ally to those people.

I want to teach my children to be allies as well. To have compassion and open ears for all people.

Where was I when love won?  I was at the park with my three children. I saw the decision on my phone and I looked up to see Eddie and Charlie engaging with all the kids who were there. In fact, I watched as Eddie approached the only Black family at the park and asked the little girl if she wanted to play tag with everyone. I watched Charlie run past a kid who fell only to turn around and hand the kid his shoe back.

It’s cheesy to say, but my eyes got all teary. My kids already seem to know that Love Wins. And I am just optimistic enough to think that as a country, we are heading in the right direction.

Where I Was When Love Won #LoveWins

Don’t Hate, Yo

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Sometimes, after a long week (ok, or day…FINE or hour) I sit down to my computer a little cranky.

(FINE…with a horrible attitude.  Sheesh you guys are pushy about truth.)

And sometimes I open some sort of social media and a picture of a kid shows up.  And I want to say, “YOUR KID IS UGLY!”

Or sometimes, I want to tweet a scathing, hate-filled tweet generalizing certain bloggers or whatever just to vent some of the ugly out of my brain.

And sometimes, I read articles or blog posts after that and I want to leave ugly, rude comments about the mental capacity of the blogger.

Once in awhile I want to instagram myself giving the whole world the middle finger.

Or I want to write a blog post talking about all the things I hate and hit publish and watch people get mad at me and hate me and disown me.

Or post a tweet or fb or G+ status bitching about family or friends who have pissed me off or let me down and how much I a just plain sick of it.

But I don’t.

I don’t do any of those things.

But I get afraid by the ragey hate that finds its way into my brain.  A lot of times it has nothing to do with kids (I don’t find anyone’s kids to be really ugly, relax), or friends or family. It is nothing anyone really did to me.

It’s the long day.

It’s the cycle of my monthly anxiety ups and downs. Highs and lows.

Maybe I have too much on my plate and I project my disdain on others instead of on myself.

Whatever. I get mean.

I leave the “mean” in my head though.

(Ok, Cort has to hear about it.  Even at the end I take it all back and just say I am tired and whatever, because it’s true. Thank goodness he promised to stay married to me. He deserves a medal.)

That meanness is toxic though.  If I let myself dwell on it, it affects my attitude at work, at home, and with other people.  I get defensive and bratty about everything.  It poisons my soul.

Sometimes, when I am feeling over-tired and unable to write or be productive, I will read an online post or article.  And then I will let myself read the comments.

People are mean.

People say the most amazingly rude and off-topic things just because they can.

I realize when I read comments and rude words, that the meanness I feel from time to time is fleeting for me.  It’s not really who I am…it’s not really how I feel about my friends and family…or even strangers.  I don’t have this horrid disdain for mankind pent up in me.

In fact, I really believe in love.

“Be devoted to one another in love, honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

I really believe in the Golden Rule of treating others the way I want to be treated…even if people don’t come through with reciprocating.

I know a lot of these toxic thoughts and destructive self-talk comes from my anxiety and depression.  I remember too well how much I let the rage win before I knew there was a problem. I remember hurting those closest to me by actually saying the horrible things that my brain put on my lips.

It never made me feel better.  Ever.

“Therefore…fix your thoughts on Jesus.” (Hebrews 3:1)

Meds helped my brain shut up, but not completely.

Because my hormones are still jacked up from having a baby, certain times of the month (after I ovulate for those of you who love the TMI on the blog) are harder than other times of the month.  My brain tells me all sorts of lies about how hard and horrible my life is and how everyone else has it better and how I should look for something bad in them and their life so I can feel better about my own.

Friends, it never works that way.

I have learned through therapy, my devotionals, and just going with my heart instead of my lying brain that in order to stop the toxic thoughts from polluting my soul, I have to turn my thoughts to love.

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14)

I don’t win the war on toxic thoughts every time.

But I am winning more than I am not.

When I feel like the hate and meanness is overwhelming I say something nice to someone.  I go out of my way to extend love to someone.

Because just like words can hurt, they can heal.  Not just the person spoken to, but the speaker as well.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

I can’t control the words that are out there in the world, but I CAN control the words that come out of my mouth and that flow out of my finger tips.

I can control what I let myself be exposed to too.  I don’t have to read comment sections (especially of controversial topics). I don’t have to watch violent TV shows.   I don’t have to listen to hate talk.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

What I see and hear and expose myself to will affect what my brain tries to tell me to say and do.  When I read hurtful things, my brain starts to tell me to hate.  When my brain tells me to hate, my mouth (and fingers) tend to let meanness flow.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them.” (Mark 11:25)

Let it go.

A million times a day I tell myself: LET IT GO.  Stop reading.  Quit engaging the hateful thoughts.

Instead, I open my eyes to those around me.  I see goodness and I comment on it.

And the love and goodness always push the hate out.

Always. Love wins. Always.

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Don’t forget the giveaway/fundraiser with Bona Clara Skin Products I have going on.  Francesca is giving her commission to the victims of Sandy Hook.  Please consider purchasing something.  And of course enter the giveaway!  No purchase necessary for that!

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