We do live in interesting times, don’t we?
After suffering through a lengthy, destructive and contentious election, we are all left reeling, wondering what’s next. The political rhetoric has divided and damaged us as a nation and as people.
And now, here come the holidays, filled with activities with family members you may not agree with or even like. Times like these just seem to be breed heated arguments and hurt feelings.
I’ve had a bit of practice dealing with political disagreements at Thanksgiving with the family. My oldest brother was 10 years older than me and went to college in the 60s, I grew up listening to heated arguments between him and my dad about the Vietnam war and civil rights.
I have fond memories of witnessing those debates. Yes, fond. They sparked my passion and enthusiasm for activism, for speaking out. And I learned that you can argue and still love each other.
Fast-forward to adulthood. After my dad died, my mother remarried. My stepdad’s relatives were mostly conservative Republicans from rural Colorado, which made family get-togethers interesting. We progressive “liberals” were in the minority. Let’s just say, I bit my tongue more than a few times.
I learned to pick my battles. Sometimes it’s better to have peace than to be right.
My stepbrother died of ALS in 2007. The day before he died, I went to visit him in the hospital. He was awake and in good humor, although it was obvious the disease was severely affecting his ability to breathe.
Before I left, I leaned down, kissed him on the cheek and whispered in his ear, “I love you, even if you are a Republican.” He was so tickled by that, he actually laughed.
And it was true. I loved him… anyway.
I’m grateful that that’s how we left things, that those were the last words I said to him, and that they made him laugh.
Life is fragile.
So when you visit your family this holiday season, remember that what you say to them may be the last thing you say to them. May you speak words of love and gratitude.
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
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