This post goes beyond anything I’ve ever previously written. Not the typical yarn reviews or pattern how-tos. Not the whimsical song lyric inspired ponderings. Today’s thoughts break from fibers and melodies; from coffees and sweets. Today, this is me.This is nothing new or unheard of. This is nothing exceptional or rare. This is something that has shed light on my today, and perhaps will bring light to others…
With all the political heat, my Facebook has exploded with memes, sarcasm, some truths, and many hatreds. Perhaps my mistake was utilizing Facebook in the first place. Or perhaps, I should have simply withdrawn from political postings. But I didn’t. And because of it, I realized this:
Mr. Lemler is someone about whom I know very little. I could make a few assumptions based on his Facebook profile and brief available information. I do; however, know one thing: he supports Hillary Clinton. He made that very clear to me right before he so untactfully interjected upon a political conversation between myself and a friend, “Get a clue, Tara”. I responded with:
“I have a clue as well as the integrity and conscience to not continue to knowingly elect corruption into our presidency. I’m not willing to condemn others for their beliefs or throw out harmful meaningless words in order to solidify my own beliefs. I am solid in my understandings and although i don’t agree 100% with any candidate, I have my integrity. And this does not waver.”
Now, perhaps I should have been the bigger person and given him the satisfaction of typing the last word. That would have been the better thing to do. But I didn’t. In a medium where emotion, understanding, and compassion are masked, I needed to further explain myself. As, I’m certain, Mr. Lemler obviously didn’t know me.
And that’s when the lightbulb emitted a piercing light:
You don’t know me, Mr. Lemler. You don’t know that I am 36 years old, born and raised in a small rural Wisconsin town. You don’t know that I have welcomed Catholic social teaching as the center of my being. You don’t know that I have years of educational experiences that have helped form my truths, opinions, and ideas. You don’t know that I have a lifetime partner who challenges me, encourages me, and respects me. You don’t know that I have given life to three amazingly bright children. You don’t know that I understand family and the importance of unconditional love. You don’t know that I desire to provide for those around me; especially my own family. You don’t know that my heart hurts for the two 7 year old boys in my daughter’s class who each lost a parent this year. You don’t know that I only wish I could wrap my arms around them and love them as my own. You don’t know that I lay awake at night thinking about children in need. You don’t know that I hope for everyone to embrace integrity and goodness. You don’t know that my hopes are not hopeless. You don’t know that I will not fling hatred from my mouth. You don’t know that your words hurt me. You don’t know that I HAVE A CLUE.
We (the royal we) are so quick to judge, so quick to become defensive, so quick to speak. We have been given the power to fire our words as weapons upon people everywhere. To hurt and harm. Facebook is the perfect bunker, hiding us from knowing each other. And without knowing each other, it’s become too easy, too tempting, to damage each other’s spirits. We’ve lost community.
Yes, there still remain gems of communities here and there, I’m certain. Our lovely Driftless community is a place where people still know each other. Where people stop on the sidewalk and talk to each other. Where people place fresh cilantro on your doorstep, and share newly budding tomato plants. Where people concern themselves with the betterment of the whole and not just themselves. Where new ideas are celebrated. Where thousands of people rally together to make progress for education, music and the arts. Where people are genuine. Where people love.
I’m convinced that community fosters love, or maybe love builds community? Either way, they go hand-in-hand and I am so thankful for my community – for those that surround me on a daily basis. Those that take time to converse with me. Those that take time to ask “how are you, really?” Those that share in my joys. Those that understand my frustrations. Those that encourage me in my endeavors. Those that love me. Those that know me.
This is less a political statement, and more my pondering on insensitivity. Regardless of what happens in this election, we will be OK, right here in little Western Wisconsin because we will continue to be compassionate and care for others. We will continue to love in hopes that the way we act and the words we choose will cause others to do the same – All for good.
And so, Mr. Lemeler, I may not know you. But, you most definitely do not know me. Your words don’t break me. I have a clue.