If we were neighbors, I would be at your doorstep with a plate of cookies, as a thank-you for the eye-opening discussions we had last week.
Because you were brave enough to enter the arena and kindly help me to see things a little from your point of view, I'm now admitting that my black and white issue isn't quite so cut and dry.
From you I learned that when one shoots an arrow into a crowd, chances are someone will get hit. Whether it's a blog post, a bumper-sticker, an anonymous comment or some other social action, no one is an island. We must all take care to be gentle.
I learned that we can agree to disagree, stand firm in our convictions, and still listen to and thoughtfully consider another's point of view.
It's a good idea for each of us to search our souls once in a while, if for no other reason than to just make sure we still have one.
If you think about it, there are quite a few things that we agree on: We both think your little guy is adorable, we both think that everyone has the right to have the one they love hold their hand as they die. We both know that you and Laura love each other. (And, I've been reading some of Laura's stuff on your blog. Frankly, I love her, too, but not the way you do. You are both amazing.)
We could be neighbors and live next door in peace. Your kid could play with mine. Does he collect snails? You could sit in my kitchen and chat. We could go to lunch together. I'd offer you a Book of Mormon. Kidding. Unless you want one. ;)
Anyway. Behind every social issue, there are individuals with their tightly held convictions, and their passionate life-stories, and the belief systems that each holds.
There is a place for each of us.
If we spend our lives worrying about offending each other, quietly sitting on our hands, then we are leaving these issues to the crazy fringe extremists who are not afraid, but who are pushy and violent.
It's important for each of us to show up and take our place, to make a spot for each other, to listen considerately, to be willing to make and then correct our mistakes, to forgive ourselves and our neighbors.
In my opinion, our country is great because of our ability to do this: when the stakes are high, we can set aside differences and pull together. We serve compassionately first and ask questions later.
The amazing thing about this place is that ideally we each bring our best selves, ideas and traditions and throw them into the melting pot, yet keep our individuality.
Ideally we all have a voice, and the people we elect represent our desires and protect us from ourselves when we need it and SERVE our best interests and those of our country in a selfless way.
We can continue to reach for the ideal. I'm optimistic. I'm saddened when it doesn't work, but I believe that basically there are more good people than bad, and that everyone is doing the best that they can with what they've got.
Maybe I should buy a rainbow shirt to remind myself that nothing is black and white. (Would a rainbow shirt go with my pink paisley pants? Maybe KMart is having a clearance.)
So, Jaime I hope someday we can meet, and hug, and share a creme brulee or something. In the meantime...
BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
2 C Sugar
1 C Brown Sugar
2 C Shortening
6 C Flour
2 tsp. Soda
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ to 1 pkg. Chocolate Chips
Bake 350* 8-10 minutes
Just try to forget about the Crisco and what it's doing to your hips. It's really worth it, and if I'd brought them to you, you'd have never known.
And thanks, you changed my life.