I found myself in a bad situation this last Friday evening. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to understand why others don't believe in, understand, and even care about the issues that I do. I believe in and am passionate about many things in life but most of all I believe that everyone deserves the right to equality. There's a quote from Obama that I like,
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is the true genius of America, a faith-a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed and clothed and safe from harm; that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door; that we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted-at least most of the time."
This is why I was so upset with the way I reacted. I like debating issues and trying to understand other's points of views but I crossed a line. I allowed myself to get upset and take the argument personally. We all have the right to believe in the things we want to, but we also have to respect the beliefs of others. I don't think keeping quiet about what you believe in is the answer because that is simply how change happens. When facts and information are made public people just may take action or change their position. However, we can try to make our point of view known without putting down others or making them feel like they aren't being heard. You can share your information in a positive way that may open up a few minds and at the very least, make them ponder what you've presented. This is why I usually just try to simply present the facts for people to do with as they like (usually by passing on a e-mail, sharing a video, or quote). They can take it or leave it but I'll feel as though as I did my part for what I care about. I believe it is important to keep an open heart and open mind. Such as in homelessness, just because a few people take advantage of the system doesn't mean they all do. We should not judge them as a whole. We need to be understanding of each individuals circumstance. Not judging unless you've walked in their shoes. Some experiences that may not be debilitating to you, may crush others. Everyone handles situations differently. That is why it is so important to be compassionate. Just because something (policy, actions, volunteering...) doesn't benefit you personally as an individual, give it a chance and try to understand why it's there. It may be helping thousands of others in need that aren't as well off as you are or who don't have the same advantages. Bobby Kennedy said,
"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom; and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer in our country, whether they be white or they be black."
He was known as such a great influential speaker because he brought people together by speaking the truth. He called upon the better angels of our nature to reaffirm our most basic human instincts of compassion, love, and empathy. This takes me to a different subject. Something that really stood out for me in church on Sunday. We all fight spiritual battles daily. You get to choose how you react to every challenge you face. It is easier said then done but when you become conscious of it, you can only go up from there. Whether it be an argument with a spouse, friend, or family member, someone who cut you off in traffic, someone who made a rude comment to you, you get to choose how you react. You can take the high road or the low road. When you become focused on and get caught up in that conflict you forget what's important in life. You become sidetracked from your true mission in life, you take a step back from becoming the person you're working towards rather than a step forward.
This weekend something AMAZING happened. A huge awakening, a step forward in my life...I finally made the decision for myself to be baptised. It was right, it was time...I was ready to accept my roll as a follower, to make that commitment. For the first time, I knew that the current church I have been participating in was where I needed to be at this moment in my life, what I needed to be a part of. Every day I leave feeling inspired, ready to help others and better myself. I'm so excited about my journey from here on out. Of course there's going to be bumps along the way. It can take a long time to get to your destination but enjoy the ride and learn from your mistakes!
Peace, love, & positive vibes....Danielle