Last week I wrote here and here, about how a visitor, I'd only met once, came to my Facebook page because he had seen my profile picture on a mutual friend's page. My comment on my friend's page was unrelated to the fact that I'd changed my profile picture in solidarity with my gay friends over the upcoming and then celebration of the resulting Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. This person showed further aggression toward me with comments made in a private message to me. How I first responded on my page was in part from my Ego, which took me out of my heart and out of the spirit of Love. I learned from the experiences--both interactions with him. And then, later that day came this:
A sweet friend delivered my buffet, which she had taken to her house and painted "shabby chic" for me. She delivered the piece with a neighbor who was also her friend and a colleague. I had never met the woman, but knew of her through my friend. We exchanged pleasantries and while I paid my friend and chatted with her briefly, the other woman walked back through my garage through which she and my friend had delivered my newly painted buffet. She came back onto my porch and asked me: "Is this your car?" She seemed a bit alarmed. I said, yes, it was. "SHOCKED!" "I'm just SHOCKED," she said. I smiled at her and said, well, you must be talking about my bumper stickers. I was a little surprised and slightly shaken, but I returned to chatting with my friend.
The two got ready to go and the other woman brought up her reaction again. "I mean, I love convertibles. It's not your car. It's your bumper stickers." And then she repeated the same refrain about how shocked she was.
I have too many bumper stickers. My friends will often tell me they saw my car at the movies, downtown or through a certain suburb because the stickers and the model of my car make it so easily identifiable. Honestly, I'm tired of the stickers and someday when I ever get (make) the chance, I'm going to remove some of them. And I'll probably blog about that because there's more to it than just being tired of them. (Don't interpret that I'll remove both of my Obama stickers. I plan to leave up the Obama logo.)
I sent my friend an email after they left. Subject line: "What was that?" She had looked at me winceingly the last time her friend talked of her shock. Just which bumper stickers did she find so shocking, I asked. I have a potpourri of positive messages, autism awareness, one about disAbility advocacy and then two for Obama.
Bingo! The two later, replied my friend who said her friend was very opinionated and extremely politically conservative.
So, it was the second time that day that I got to be on the receiving end of someone's judgment of me because of my political or spiritual beliefs that were just hanging out there--on my Facebook page in the profile picture square and on my car's back bumper.
Wow. I thought about why it registered with her as such a shock. And what did she think of me because I was part of the American population that supports and voted for our president. How was it that my politics somehow changed her view of me--at least that she'd be so shocked that I would support Obama?
I'm not immune or ignorant to the fact that many people are vehemently opposed to our president on a number of grounds, some fact and much of it fiction. And this is not to bash the woman but to share the experience and let it be a lesson and a reminder to me to remain in the spirit of love even when I see someone's bumper sticker or online politics differ from mine AND when I am on the receiving end as I was that Thursday.
It is/was a reminder that these are just opinions and that beneath the opinions are human beings, just like me, just like you, who come to their opinions from their individual universe of experiences. That includes the woman's shock and opinions of, ha, my opinions. How I came to both my political and spiritual beliefs was indeed a lifetime of my personal journeying, a fair amount about which I have written on this blog under those eponomously named categories. It has been a personal evolutionary journey for me, of which I cherish and I celebrate. And at this leg of the journey I continue to learn to be love to all those who disagree with me.
To me these incidents are all timely as the heat of summer has been stoked once again last week, just like it's been being stoked every summer since 2009 or 08 or 07, whatever, and since the 1980s when Newt Gringrich and the Regan era drew lines of deep divisiveness in politics and religious beliefs and since, let's be real, the beginning of human life. Sigh.
Love. My sweet friend in her email reply said it best as she told me what had shocked her friend and from where her friend was coming:
"Love is the answer to all things, as we know. You and I are in the same boat[:] open to learn[ing] and try[ing] to always find a way back to love and that my friend is on a journey all of [her] own."