family

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

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Being a Reasonable Person

I quit writing earlier this year. I hit burnout. It felt useless to write because of several reasons the primary ones being that I was, and still am, tired of everything becoming politicized and that the vilification of differences of opinion makes debate seemingly impossible…

Which brings me to why I decided to break my silence. Being a reasonable person is hard. It requires me to assume the person I am talking to is also reasonable. It forces me to maintain the idea that their beliefs and convictions have come from as much thought and internal debate as mine have and it means that, even if I disagree, I have to credit them with intelligence and rationality…

I’m fair minded enough…I hope…to believe that I am capable of being mistaken. I know that I have mad mistakes and will again but since I make mistakes and want my failings forgiven, I must be willing to return that same grace. It would be far easier to be a mean-spirited cynical old b****rd. It would simplify debate if my answer to anything I disagreed with was, “are you f**king stupid?”…and it would make lie to my claim and desire to be reasonable and occasionally rational…

My father says, “everyone has their flat sides.” The way I think he means it and the way I take it is to read that there are imperfect parts to all of us. I KNOW, read “bedrock belief”, that I have mine, see “mean-spirited cynical old b****rd”…and I struggle against that. I enjoy being that person. He’s comfortable. Part of that struggle is to, pardon the trite expression, I have to clean my side of the street before I worry about yours. If I decide to be against something, in Millerspeak, to be an “anti” I have to be sure that what side I take hasn’t done the same or worse than what I’m against. Just because I support something or person or view doesn’t give them a free pass…in fact, it means I hold them to a higher standard and if they fail, I reevaluate MY position.

Being reasonable both simplifies and complicates things. I’ll explain. It simplifies because I have zero tolerance for people that aren’t willing to be and return the same. As a result, I refuse to engage them in conversation. It complicates because, when people disagree rationally and reasonably with my views, I have to give some credence to their view and explain my view in a civil manner, see my comment are you f**king stupid?”…

Anyway, life is too short, my life is at any rate, to be more hypocritical than I can avoid. My own code requires me to give the same consideration and respect that I would want given to me. My friends and loved ones were too carefully allowed into my life to have me want to drive them away because I just decided to be a twerp. Live yours as you wish but, for me, being a reasonable and calm human is a worthy goal and part of my chosen path…

It isn’t how you treat the people you like that matters. That’s easy. What counts, what reflects on you, is how you treat the people you despise. That’s the hard part…

What I’m For…

I’ve written a truck load of protest posts. I’ve chastised and criticized and satirized. I’ve attempted to defend and offend. I think I’ll just say what I’m for…

I’m for families. They don’t have to have kids. They may be of the same gender or different genders. It makes me no difference as long as it is two humans that have committed to being a team.

I’m for hugs and kisses and cuddles. I’m for any two people that find comfort in the contact of their human making what connection they may. Life is too short to not feel the warmth of a person you love.

I’m for a belief in something greater than yourself. I’ve seen the pictures from space. Those photos don’t show humans, they show a rock full of life. We didn’t make it. It was here for us when we got here and it’ll be here long after we’re gone.

I’m for finding common ground. I believe in looking for the things in people that bring us together. We don’t have to share gender, orientation, or faith as long as we recognize the worth in the other person.

Really, guys, it’s simple. If we look at things as divisive, they will be. If we look to include, we do. My faith teaches love. That’s the message I need most. I am capable of being as grumpy and xenophobic as anyone, so I, me, Miller, this human in this skin, needs this lesson as much as anyone. At the end of things, I’ll go to my Maker alone. Till then, I’m for sharing my world with some people worth caring about. I didn’t pick the ones I share it with but, I am entirely grateful they picked me.

I’m the One That’s Abnormal…

Interestingly, this should follow my last three posts…“I Want Z Back”“Because Aj and Z”, and “Aj Was My First Pagan…”

Aj did set the stage. I learned, and still learn, from her. I learned that it is possible to be “not Christian” and still be a moral person. I learned that innate goodness can be a quality that exists apart from my own moral construct. That a strong view of good and evil does not have to include the Christian concept of sin. She didn’t teach me to be “open minded” as much as less caring that some people do things differently than others. That my way is not necessarily the only “correct way, it’s only correct for ME…

Next was Z. When she came out to me, I was “flustered” for a couple of days…then I realized not one thing about her or our interaction was different…*editorial, I lie, we do interact differently because of this blog…I give a further lie to what I just said in the first post in the list above “I Want Z Back”* What I should more correctly say is “she hasn’t changed” and I had to adapt to knowing something I didn’t know.

Anyway, the basic truth is, Aj was the first Pagan I was close to. Z is the first Lesbian I was close to. Z is a trusted friend and a Treasure. She owns a place in my heart reserved for loved ones. *other editorial, “love” is a word never used casually* I digress…She is also “normal”. Being Lesbian doesn’t change her morality. She’s Christian and, yeah, I had to adapt my thinking…again…to fit that. I had to learn that being gay does not mean you can not be a Christian. It just means that some people say you can not, that’s all…

So, I started writing this blog and along came Kelly. After one of my first posts she made shared it with the comment, paraphrase, “he sees me as human” or some such, with a real sense of wonder. Kelly is both Pagan and Lesbian.

Funny thing, when I write about Aj, the underlying context is Pagan. Here, she’s the thought for Religious Freedom. Writing about Z puts her in the “Lesbian box”. As much as I wish it didn’t. *other other editorial, not that I have a difficulty with her being gay, just wish it wasn’t the only thing that comes up. She’s far more than merely that part. Kind of looking at one petal and missing the rose*

Back to Kelly. I just see “Kelly”, not the aspects or “context”, just her. I see her family pictures. I see Kelly and her wife and outings, cookouts, and trips with their kid…and it’s normal. It’s just a family with a kid they love. Sure, there are two moms but, so effing what? It’s a family. I love watching them. They’re fiercely protective of each other and the kid. It’s what a family does, they love and protect and enjoy being a family. Nothing immoral. Nothing different than any other family that does things right…because they do. Kid’s gonna grow up to be a good adult because of the way the kid is being raised. Moms are gonna make sure of that. Just a family…

So, I’ve grown. It isn’t that I “adapted” or fell into the “trap of the gay agenda”. It’s just that I had to learn. I had two choices reject people I’ve come to love or change to be able to keep them. Easier, far easier, to change me. More to the point, I never want to reject someone for something that is innate to them and makes no difference to me. Tossing away someone because my normal and theirs aren’t in lockstep is stupid and short sighted. They are not immoral, just not the same as me. That’s all…and the funny thing is, they are EXACTLY the same. We have the same wants, needs, and desires in life.

It doesn’t matter that we share a faith, that doesn’t instill morality. It doesn’t matter that some are gay and I’m straight, that doesn’t change the condition of the heart. It matters that they love their faith. It matters that they treat me with dignity and respect for being different from them.

You see, to them, I’m abnormal. To the Pagans, my faith has persecuted theirs. To the Lesbians, straight white males have denigrated, slandered, and repressed them. By all rights, they should have a prejudice against ME. Yet, they don’t judge me, they accept and embrace me. They call me “loved”. They are more willing to love me than my past as a homophobic male has any reason to deserve…

I’ve learned. “Normal” is the most subjective of words. Who are we to impose our view of it on anyone else? Aj taught me that Pagan is normal. Z taught me that Lesbian is normal. Kelly taught me that families are families. They are all Treasures. They allow “abnormal” me to share their lives. They have been more patient with me than I deserve. For that, and their lives, they have my gratitude.