I've not been comfortable with my posts recently--the ones about politics, the election, and the actions of our local Episcopal Diocese, I mean. I wrote and posted them out of true passion for justice--I feel so deeply about the importance of mutuality, the dignity of each human life, people on the margins of society, etc.
Of course I still feel that way. My posts are authentically me. But as I posted each of them, I did have a whisp of discomfort, a whisp that I conveniently and easily repressed. That discomfort grew until Thursday when I had lunch with The Author. We were talking about the election, and because I feel so safe with her, I actually said, "I don't understand it. I don't understand how spiritually mature people can be so conservative in their politics."
The Author is a very kind person. Each time I said something like that she remarked how she tries to see both sides of every position. I finally said, "I guess I'm being kind of arrogant about it," and she was very quick to agree!
"The problem is that people on each side are convinced they are right," she said.
So, I'm commiting the same sin that I accuse "them" of. Ugh.
Later that day my friend The Artist came by to give me my first watercolor lesson. She's a regular reader of this blog as well, so when I mentioned that I was rethinking my posts on the election, with some energy in her voice she said, "Oh really?" Yeah, I think I may have been kind of arrogant, I said. "Yeah," she replied.
Double Ouch. Two in the same day.
When I was growing up, I was the "smart one." It was how I learned to be loved, to be special--that is, to have the right answer. Indeed, to be right. As I moved into adolescence, though, I know I must've been a huge pain to my mother. We had terrible fights, and I know I was a horrible smart aleck. Well, I still have a need to be right. I see how my ATTITUDE regarding the election is the same old wound acting its way out.
The attitude in which I wrote those posts was one of absolute conviction that "I am right and "they" are wrong. Pure and simple." There's a kind of blind arrogance involved in it.
I need the conservative view to keep my liberalism from morphing into "change at any cost and the faster the better" (when in fact the costs might be too high and slower might be better!) I need tradition to balance my heavy reliance on experience. I tend to forget that. Plus, I'm sure that many conservatives and traditionalists also value mutuality, the dignity of each human life, people on the margins of society, etc.
More importantly, though, the spiritual reminder is that I must love those with whom I am in disagreement. To love them is, in part, to remember that they could be right. Certainty is a dangerous business.
I'll continue to act from within my liberal stances on issues, but I must remember to act out of conviction based in faith, not absolute certainty. That's the attitudinal difference I must cultivate.
I apologize to anyone who felt the arrogance and was offended by it. And my humble thanks to my dear friends The Author and The Artist.