This past Sunday I approached the pew (or chairs) that I normally sit in. There was a family comfortably sitting in MY row. Either I was later than normal or people were really eager to get there for the beginning of the Lenten series. I did refrain from asking the family to move out of my spot, don’t think the thought didn’t cross my mind because it totally did. I found myself up a few more rows in the center of the side I usually always sit on. It was uncomfortable to say the least. I had to greet people that I never even knew went to our church during meet your neighbor and there was this weird mixture of body lotion and expensive perfume that filled the air. I ALWAYS sit on the end but not that Sunday, there I was, smack dab in the middle, way up in the front.
It gave me a new perspective, different view point, and new people to meet. I just had to keep an open mind. The body lotion and expensive perfume smelled pretty darn fantastic after a while, kind of like what I would assume if Bath & Body Works married Sephora’s perfume counter and birthed a child kind of smell. People sang a little more on-key around me, so I was the off-key weirdo belting it out from my heart. Yep, it got real for me, real quick. I took the glance backs during music worship to say, I could totally be the next Celine Dion, in my dreams!
This past week in reading all the posts, articles, and sometimes down right awful comments people have blasted out there about the Florida mass shooting, it got me thinking about my church pew. People are so set on seeing only their view point that they don’t ever get up and move to a new seat. We don’t refresh our surroundings. We get so caught up in what our right is that we lose sight of how to have rational conversations. People might as well be sitting there with noise cancelling headphones on, talking to a wall, seriously think about it and then scroll through your social media feeds.
I would challenge you to reach across the aisle with your hand extended and switch places with someone. See something from their view point. One side doesn’t want to give up their guns, pounds on their chest to prove it. One side believes that we can’t just sit idly by and do nothing, yelling becomes a mantra. The solution is somewhere in the middle yet no one is in the aisle. Now is the time to be in the aisle. Lay down the chest pounding, the fist pumping, the conspiracy theories, and meet people. I bet we would find that we aren’t that far apart from one another.
After church service I came home. Began to prepare lunch for the family. I was humming along, heart full from service, eating with my family. Began to clean up the house and somehow the husband and I both were in a purging, deep cleaning kind of mood. I looked up and saw my favorite quote hanging in our living room, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa. I smiled as my home is full of love, yet it reminded me of my church pew and the aisle. When you meet people, you must meet them with love. We stop listening to hate, to yelling, to ranting. Your meme isn’t changing my political view, your rant isn’t changing the way I view the world. Trust me, I roll my eye balls hard at some of y’alls posts and theories. Greet me with love and I’ll open my heart to listen.
It takes moving away from the tiny screens we hide behind to have REAL conversations. That’s where change happens, trust me it ain’t your social media feeds that change the world. If you feel so strongly about your view point then pick up your phone and call your legislators. If you can’t name your House Representative or your Senator off the top of your head you aren’t even on the page where the solution begins to form. Ranting back and forth to one another doesn’t solve anything except make ya hostile.
I have a bible study this evening at church and for the past few weeks I believe I have sat in the same seat. Tonight I will move to the other side of the table. Why? Because if I can’t get out of my own chair once in a while then how can I meet people in the aisle? How will I teach my children how to love other people? It starts with my action. My hand is extended and I will great you with love. It’s how I prefer to be greeted, by love.
I am not perfect. I’ve helped “educate” a few people in my day. Where did it get me? I’ve been blocked a time or two, trust me on that. I’m just downright a happier person not to spew my rants into social media. I am sure I’ll get on my soap box a time or two down the road (not sure if this is considered a soap box or not, hmmm) but I’ll stop and think before I do. I’ll extend the hand, invite you to meet your legislators and discuss rationally a solution for the future. I’ve already picked up my phone and called my legislators. Have you? It doesn’t matter what side you are on, as a voting constituent they want to hear from you. You don’t need to be the loudest voice, you just need to have a voice.
What do you think you’ll discover on the other side?