Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Soon, most of us will be gathering in homes with our family and friends, eating delicious food, drinking, and watching football. It is a day for us to truly take a step back and remember what we are grateful for. Right now, a lot of people in our country aren't feeling very grateful. I get that. So many people I know are feeling uneasy, scared. Most people I know, no matter what side they fall on, are fueled up, ready to fight back against anyone who disagrees with them. And I get it- we should be having dialogue. I'm not discouraging dialogue.
What I am discouraging is for hatred to leak through your words. When you come face to face with someone who clearly disagrees with you, instead of instantly engaging in heated arguments or spitting out words that are hurtful or hateful towards anyone, just take a minute. Take a minute to put yourself in that person's shoes. Think about why they may believe what they are saying. Agree to disagree. Let it go.
There are some behaviors, I realize, that aren't worthy of your time. If someone is abusive towards you, or other humans in general, and you simply can't have a discussion with them, then don't. In those cases, I say it's okay to stay away (if possible).
I'm directing this at the people who may only see their extended families once or twice a year. This Thursday may be that only time. You may know ahead of time you don't agree politically. That's fine. You don't have to. Shake of the hostility, engage in healthy conversation, and show that individual the same love and respect you want shown your way.
I know what some of you may be thinking. That the world doesn't work like this, that we can't all just smile and ignore what is happening, that we need to TAKE A STAND. And trust me, I am all for taking a stand against racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. I think there could be opportunities for teaching moments, if they are done without violence attached to them.
But I also think one of the best things that we can do is to show our love out loud, obnoxiously. And that includes showing our love to the people who don't agree with us, as hard as that may be.
It is my hope, that this Thanksgiving, as you fill your bellies and celebrate amongst loved ones, that you can truly enjoy the holiday, honor your gratitude, and speak your love. I can't say it will be easy, but I certainly hope it will be worth it.
PS: If you're like me, you'll find comfort in music. Maybe this song will help. It's called Same Side, by Jill and Kate, and it's available on Itunes tomorrow. Perfect timing.