Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

When Divorce Is A Good Thing

A couple of years ago, I found myself in a position of leadership over a fairly sizeable internet community of women.

It imploded during the 2004 election.

Though there were A LOT of issues that contributed to the demise of the community, politics was was the match that ignited the dry and crackling tinder of discontent.

I understand being committed to a cause. I understand being passionate about beliefs. I myself have been a rabid defender of certain ideals. And I myself have, at times, let those ideals cloud my judgement and skew my reasoning.

But I was completely shocked and dismayed by the ease with which people foresook longstanding friendships in the name of political fanaticism.

That experience changed my perspective quite a bit.

Ideals are good. Ideals motivate and inspire. They shape our views and our values. They give us a foundation upon which to build our lives and base our morality.

But what they cannot to do is...

Bake you a cake on your birthday because nobody else thought of it.

Take you out for ridiculously expensive coffee to take your mind off that awful new haircut.

Tell you that your ass looks fat in those jeans in a thoroughly non judgemental way.

Listen to you bitch about your rotten kids without feeling the need to remind you how lucky you are.

Assure you that just because he has been late three nights this week, your husband is not having an affair. And then offer to emasculate him if he is.

Bring you soup when your sick and chocolate when you're hormonal.

Collect your kids and take them to the park just because you've had enough already.

Do you see what I mean?

Ideals can't replace people. You can't live, laugh and love with ideals. You can't grow old with them. And they won't remember you fondly or tell stories about you for generations to come.

Recently, I reconnected with a dear old friend. When I was hurt and reeling and lost, she took me in. It's what she does. She takes in stray people. She gave me a place to wallow and lick my wounds until I was ready to emerge again, like a butterfly from it's chrysallis; stronger, wiser, and ready to soar.

We were like sisters for many years.

But then I met Husband and my life began to change. It was hard for her to see me realizing dreams we both shared. Watching my family grow just hurt her too much. We lost touch when being a Mother became the focus of my life.

But years later, we are both older and wiser. She went in search of me and I went in search of her and we laughingly found one another in the least likely of places; Facebook.

We arranged to meet, but I was nervous. I had noted that she is now a staunch conservative. And she no doubt had noted that I am a bleeding heart liberal. She has rediscovered the Christian faith in which she was raised. I, of course, am a Godless Heathen.

I fretted that this would make things awkward. I tend to keep my theological and my political inclinations to myself, but it seems that she has become very outspoken about them. Southerners in general are more expansive and forthcoming about such things, I've found. As a Northerner, I am more naturally reserved.

Husband told me I was borrowing trouble. He said that she was the same person she had always been and so was I and stop overthinking the way you always do for God's sake!

It was sound advice, but still I fretted about it. What if she tried to convert me? My stomach knotted thinking about how I could tell her I wasn't interested in asking Jesus or John McCain into my heart without fraying the thin thread of our newly rekindled frienship beyond what it could bear.

My past experiences had taught me that some people can't divorce their particulars from their politics. (Elphaba, Wicked.) Some don't want to.

But you know what? Husband was right. She was the same person she had always been. I had forgotten what a sunny disposition she has, how infectious her laugh, how warm her heart.

Politics never came up. And only once did the conversation steer dangerously near the topic of religion. I sidestepped the issue as tactfully as I could and she graciously changed the subject. It did not cast a pall on our reunion as I had feared it might. It was there and then it was gone and nothing had changed.

Maybe, at some point, when the tenuousness is gone and we once again know each other as well as we did back in the day; when the timidity has evaporated and frankness is acceptable again.....maybe it will come up.

And what will I tell her then?

I will say...

Listen...I love you and I don't want to lose our friendship again. I don't agree with you, but I don't have to agree with you to know that you are an amazing person and a wonderful friend. I respect your beliefs and I won't try to change them, even though I can't share them. I hope you can do the same for me.

And that's really what I want to say to you all today.

Don't put conditions on friendships that are really important to you. Don't sacrifice someone because their beliefs are different from yours. And don't shove your views down a friend's throat at every opportunity, hoping that at some point, they'll swallow just so they can breathe again.

I will never, for the life of me, understand why politics are more important to some people than, well...people. I will also never understand why those people have to villify and demean those who disagree with them.

I'm not stupid. Or ignorant. Or blind. Or gullible. Or sheeplike.

I simply believe differently than you.

And I believe that despite that, we can be friends.

Let the politicians hate each other. We can do better.

12 Comments:

  • At 8:33 PM, OpenID iamagrownup said…

    i am glad you had a nice time.

     
  • At 10:01 PM, Blogger IIDLYYCKMA said…

    I think you are borrowing trouble and everything is going to be fine:)

     
  • At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Tracy (t-gardens) said…

    I happen to like Jesus and John McCain and was a member of your internet community, from the very first day... and I've never felt the urge to make you see things "my" way. I accept people as.they.are ... and look at differences as opportunities to learn (hey, I even wear capris now LOL).

    I've never ever let our differences get in the way... I loved your community, I love reading your blog, and that my dear will never change.

     
  • At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Reesie said…

    U too am one of those bleeding liberals but I married a man who is a conservative. Fortunately we agree on that being Godless Heathens is ok :)

    I agree that people are more important than politics.

     
  • At 9:19 AM, Blogger PunditMom said…

    I had a similar experience in the 2008 election. People I thought shared certain views actually became quite extreme without room for shades of gray. It was a sad and eye-opening experience to discover that people you actually thought you shared many things with would not only disagree with me, but actually openly mock me. In some ways, I think it's harder for people to civilly discuss politics than religion.

     
  • At 9:42 AM, Anonymous mothergoosemouse said…

    Hear hear. Very well said.

     
  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger K2 said…

    If only more people could see it your way....world peace?

     
  • At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been in a new position at work for the past few months and haven't had nearly as much time to stop by and read your writings as I used to. But when I do stop by, your writing never disappoints. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts with us. I truly admire your gift and always leave knowing the visit to your blog was worth it.

    Peace ~Kellie

     
  • At 2:33 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    Reconnecting with old friends can be tough and I think it's especially more so for guys, although I'm not sure why.


    I have a good friend - who was as much a brother to me as my own real brother for a dozen years - who got married 2 weeks after I did, nearly 13 years ago. I've struggled to stay in contact and keep our friendship alive, but he seems unwilling (or maybe just too perpetually tired since he works 70-90 hour weeks) to put forth as much effort. So, we often go many months between emails or phone calls. Doesn't help much that our wives don't mix well...

    I've tried a couple of times to reconnect with guys who were great friends from my younger years and it hasn't really worked out with either. I just recently got the email address of a 3rd friend who I lost touch with after the 10th grade. I am at the same time excited yet anxious about making the first contact in 20-ish years.

    Anyway, it's encouraging to hear that this does sometimes pan out. Maybe I'll send that email tonight...

     
  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    I lOVE the phrase 'borrowing trouble'. Stealing it now.

    I reconnected with a friend from many years ago because of facebook. It was lovely.

     
  • At 5:32 AM, Blogger katherine said…

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Sarah

    http://www.lyricsdigs.com

     
  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger Six Green Zebras said…

    Ironically - just last night I met with an old friend b/c of facebook. We hadn't seen eachother in 15 years and until 3 weeks ago, hadn't spoken in that long either! It went wonderfully, like we had never missed a day.

     

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