America tends to cop a celebration hang-over for many of its holidays, not the least of which is Fourth of July. So, perhaps what I want to explore with you today is timely because it deals with a touchy and uncomfortable aspect of our country, especially right now--how we treat each other over our opposing political and spiritual views. This post is a continuation of this one: In Contemporary Evolution [and Love,] There is No Black or White.
Can I just say OUCH!?! Thursday a week ago was emotionally painful for me. I got socked three times out of the blue. Well, twice and then once with myself. And really, how I reacted to these events were purely up to me and how I chose to label and interpret the experiences, likewise. It was a day of learning. As I shared in the above linked post, I opened up Facebook that morning to find a comment on my personal page from someone whom I had only spoken to once, a decade ago, and whom I'm not positive even knows who I am. We have mutual friends. Like many on the ubiquitous social media forum, I had changed my Facebook profile picture in solidarity of my gay brothers and sisters--my friends, one of my doctors, a second cousin, an old childhood friend, an old college friend and many with whom I once attended church with in Atlanta, and more than one "Mother from Hell" who also has a child with a disAbility and the many other American men and women who are devoted, loving mothers and fathers who watched to see what the Supreme Court would rule on the issue of marriage equality. The comment was made under my profile picture change notice. (Oh, Facebook, one of the many things I dislike about you.)
"It is a sad day in America as God weeps," wrote this person on my wall, under my the red-and-pink equal sign of profile picture. I can only figure he found my page because I had commented (and thus showing the red-and-pink equality symbol as my picture beside my remarks) on something unrelated on a dear mutual friend's page upon which we are both somewhat active.
I responded back to him with two remarks. One, that as of last year's Chic-fil-a debaucle, I will make to
anyone who comes onto my personal page and takes issue with my opinions that: "I will not come onto your or anyone else's personal page and take opposition with your spiritual and political views. I ask that you show me the same respect." I learned this the hard way. I inadvertently alienated an old high school friend by taking issue, though not in an intended mean-spirited manner, with some of her views. At some point, I decided I would no longer do that. When it was done to me last summer, even when I had not made a direct comment about the Chic-fil-a protest, but rather to the essence that "my heart was sad this Wednesday," two Facebook friends came on to take issue with my statement. I got it. I got the experience. Don't do this. It comes across as offensive and argumentative and one-up to many. I told the man on my page last week, that I liked his sense of humor, his talent and I appreciated his charitable work on behalf of a cause dear to my heart and also that I appreciated that we shared a number of mutual friends.
But then, my bad, as I later reconciled to myself, I took it a step further. I challenged him to read the views of a growing sector of the young, progressive Christian movement who are accepting homosexuality as a fact and a part of human culture. And I challenged him to examine coming onto my page and that it created contentiousness and I asked him to consider WWJD.
Misstep. You see. I got my Ego involved with that addendum. Basically, I had crossed over the line and stood with him from the place of Ego. The third chakkra. Away from the fourth chakkra. The heart. Love.
What happened next really blindsided me. Oy! I got a lengthy, I mean EPIC message quoting New and Old Testament scripture and interpretations of the scriptures and then ramblings about the sanctity of marriage seemingly meaning I was unsanctimonious or something and then I was told that what I had said we had in common did not count in God's eyes. And then one brief follow-up message: when I learned the truth it would set me free.
Sigh. My point here is not to show you my emotional Facebook boo-boo or to bad mouth this person via "The Journey with Grace." (Wink. Grace. Get it?) But, rather, I want to share the experience of how, again, I learned. First, I learned from my error. How my Ego tried to trump. Then, I got the experience of feeling how when we impose our views on another, as this guest poster on my page had done, we can stimulate pain in others. How many times have I "put it out there" in the name of righteousness without considering how it may feel to the person for whom I am "putting it out there"? It did not feel good to me, I can tell you. But, I knew it was a lesson for me, albeit a painful one.
This person had very little "data" about me and assumed I shared his views about the exclusitivity of belief in one God and which God--although he questioned my assumed Christianity. (Ouch.) Another thing that I have done and that many of us tend to do when we go off on others--either to their faces, on cyperspace or behind their backs to yet others or even in the privacy of our own head--is not knowing or considering what their life experiences of the world may be. Which is to consider: What are their experiences of life and where has their life journey has taken them?
Stopping to consider where their journey has taken them then that leads me back to compassion. I felt compassion for him that he felt the need to railroad me (yes, that's not a very compassionate term on my part and shoves me back into judgment,) with his views. Everything I peronally experience about the nature of God stems from the root of Love. My experience was that there was no love in these words hurled at me. (A judgmental verb, hurl.) Where had this talented and handsome man been that would have taken him to such a place where he spewed vitriol at me, a virtual stranger? So, my pain was in part the pain I felt in his experience of life, the world, this issue. Behind his vitriol was pain from within him. I've been getting that experience as well in my work with my spiritual teacher these last two years. When I have come with venom and anything less than kind, not only have I forgotten the love in which I was created and I am. I am coming from a place of pain and fear within me. It is deep-deep work that I am doing these past two years, post divorce, and I am burrowing down to clean out the clutter of that pain that goes back to the beginning of my life here in this incarnation.
I'm going to stop here because of length, and finish this post in another segment or two. I'm not done. I had two more incidents on the same day involving other people and controversial issues, again, that I did nothing intentionally to evoke. But, I hope I am clear here on what I learned. About what this experience taught me about me about Ego. When I moved over into Ego, in this case, I categorized my gay friends as more important and special than his spiritual views. Ego-generated categorization--I'm right, you're wrong--leads not to love but to hatred...and even war.
"We are our experiences. We are not our political views, contentious views, religious views. We are the experiences of our personal universes. I cannot love A more than B simply because I agree with A more than B. That's what the Ego would do. That's what tolerance is all about. Tolerance is about the equal playing field of who you are." ~ Mystic Ken Wheaton.