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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Does Your Fruit Say About You?

This post is born out of several events in the news within the past few weeks.

*The school shootings in Chardon, Ohio
*Student arrested in the Pittsburgh, PA area for making terroristic threats at the high school
*The man who walked into a court house in Texas and started shooting people.
*A student in Ohio with Epilepsy who was stomped on while on the basketball court because he was "antagonistic" and "liked to start fights." One blow to the head could be fatal for this 8th grader. The other students watching the event were chanting "Kill him! Stomp on his head!"
*Trayvon. Need I say more?

There are so many more that I didn't list and don't even know about.

It makes me sick. It makes me want to pack up my family and go live in some remote part of the world where no one will bother us and I don't have to worry that I will send my kids to school one day only to find out they were beaten, shot or stabbed to death. Or sexually assaulted by a teacher. Or a classmate.

I'm tired of it.

For all the herculean leaps we have taken as far as technology and medicine, we are light years away from where we used to be as far as public decorum and morality (IMHO).

Now, I know I am an exception as far as my worry meter on a daily basis, but there is relevance to my fear of sending my kids off to school for 8 hours a day.  Countless people have access to them and their impressionable minds...people I have never met and know nothing about. How many kids are being treated horribly at home and pass that along to my kids? How many adults with their world views that are so far outside of my own, yet who have free, unfettered access to MY kids with a mission to make them more "well-rounded"?

What have we become as a society that our values, politics, and beliefs revolve around who has the most money and the party we least want to offend? Where has our value of human life gone?

No, not everyone is salt of the earth. Not everyone is a quality human being (or even considered a human being!) That doesn't mean it should be deemed appropriate to squash their rights.

I'm angry.

I'm angry at the world I feel like I'm leaving my kids. A world they will either have to toil and kill themselves to clean up or live with in the mire.

I'm angry at myself for caving on too many issues, of keeping quiet, of burying my head in the sand and selling out (and thus selling out my kids??) for the sake of not making waves.

This goes beyond politics, right wing, left wing, democrat, republican, tea party. This is a human issue.

We can dress it up all we want and call it "political" but it's really far deeper and more important than that. We can tie a bow on it and try to remain "calm" and "un-passionate" about these issues if that helps us sleep better at night, but I'm tired of doing that. I am anything BUT un-passionate about my family. (Note: I believe there is a difference between 'passionate' and 'hot-headed')

I don't want to be the intellectual who talks myself into believing certain things are okay and that others aren't simply because it's "political." Or the "deep thinker" who talks himself out of Heaven by following the world's highways and what makes sense in Washington.

If you disagree, it's not my goal to sit here and talk you to death-as some seem to think is reasonable when you disagree with them. These are my thoughts and convictions. If you are feeling the same way, but--like me--too afraid for whatever reason to stand up and clearly proclaim what you believe, then maybe you won't feel so afraid if you know others feel the same way.

It's scary to stand alone. Or to feel like you do.

It's also scary to watch the news every night and hear story after story of kids being bullied and killed by other kids, their parents, strangers, friends... To watch minute after minute of people being arrested for every imaginable crime under the sun.

And I think the days are gone when we think we can live within our own 4 walls and not be touched by it. No way. This is here. It's in our front yard. The battle line has been brought to us. Maybe because we refused to step up and defend it when it was *way back there* so it's crept forward and it's here inside my white picket fence.

I allow discomfort and fear of anger or rejection from sharing my beliefs with others-especially those closest to me. If I believe I am called to share the Good News and stand up for my faith--which I do--what is holding me back?

Fear.

That four letter 'F' word that gets stuck in my throat on an hourly basis.

I am afraid, y'all.

Afraid of rejection from those I love.
Afraid of looking like a hypocrite
Afraid of coming across like a know-it-all
Afraid of confrontation
Afraid of hurting the feelings of someone I care about
Afraid of failing in my desire to do the right thing
Afraid of being wrong and completely misjudging a situation

Afraid.

And I hate it. I watch people make the biggest mistakes and turn their backs on things they professed to care about--and leaving a storm in their wake-- and I am paralyzed. Frozen. I'm so afraid of hurting their feelings or making them mad that I will watch them blindly, willingly and sometimes brazenly walk into a bear trap. All while I smile and cheer them on.

And I'm to afraid to have the conversation. Not the "Oh my gosh Becky those pants make you look fat..." conversation. I mean the "Who are you and what do you stand for?" conversation. The "You aren't living the way you've always professed to believe" conversation. The "what example are you setting and what message are you sending?" conversation.

And the thing is...it isn't on my shoulders to enforce anything with people. Or to change them. But if it's on my heart and on my mind twenty-four-seven (which it is) it is my responsibility to share what I am feeling. In love and lovingly. What they do with that info is up to them. And their choice.

And most importantly, I need to be mindful of what kind of fruit I'm bearing. Meaning, what kind of life am I living and what decisions am I making? Am I robbing banks on weekends, but preaching in church on Sundays? Do I beat my kids at home, but lead my brownie troupe and teach parenting classes? Am I talking about my friends behind their backs but blogging about the importance of friendship and convictions? Am I spending time in a comedy club where "funny" is vulgar and demeaning and then smiling at all my "church" friends on Sunday morning?

And I need to check why it's so important for me to tell others how I'm feeling. Is it because I want to be 'right' and point out a believed flaw to them? Or is it because I care about them?

These are hard questions. And I struggle with some of the above scenarios (NOT the 'beating my kids' one...or the robbing a bank one...FYI).

Can we reclaim our world and this country or is it too late? Are we too far gone? At what point do we shake the dust off our sandals and move on? And will my sandals ever stop being stuck in the mud?
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