Monday, January 7, 2013

Your Choice

What would you think if I told you I'm changing religions? Or that I no longer believe? What would you say? What would you do?

What would you think if I told you I'm not straight? That I'm attracted to women as well as men? or that I'm gay? What would you say to me? To others? Would you think any differently of me? Treat me any differently?

What would you think if I told you that I'm on food stamps? Would you think less of me? Would you take the time to understand? Or would you judge me for having all these children and no means to support them?

What would you think if I told you I have serious mental illness? Would you be afraid of me? Talk about me behind my back to compare notes with friends?

What would you think if I, a homeschooling mom, decided to put my kids in school? Would you support my decision or think I was giving up or taking the easy way out? What if I was a schooling mom deciding to pull my kids from school? Would you be supportive?

What would you think if one of my kids was in some sort of horrific accident while I was supposed to be taking care of them? Would you judge my ability to parent and think me negligent?

Would you judge me?

If you wouldn't judge me, would you judge if it were someone else? Would you judge if it was your strangely quiet neighbor or your eccentric cousin? Would you judge if it was your child, your spouse, or yourself? 

My life has been touched with people dealing with all of these things - and the reactions of their friends, family, and acquaintances when they decided to share their point of view, their choices, their very nature, or their tragedy with others. Some reactions were fiercely negative. Some were powerfully loving and supportive. Some were an amalgamation of both.

It got me thinking - if I should have something possibly questionable to reveal, how would people in my life react? Would they judge me? Hate me? Think less of me? Or would they continue loving me? Supporting me? Striving to understand me?

Would it matter to me what others thought? Probably not. After all, none of my life choices, none of the things that are inherent to my being, none of it is for you to judge.

Judging others does nothing good for us, for our society, or for our world. It divides people. It breeds hate, prejudice, and fear.

Loving others does only good. It brings people together. It breeds acceptance, understanding, and support. 

This is why I choose love, always. "Love your neighbor..." speaks volumes to me. It's not love your neighbor unless ... It's not love your neighbor if s/he fits these criteria. It's LOVE your neighbor. Love your gay neighbor and your mentally ill neighbor and your homeless neighbor and your drug addict neighbor and your pedophile neighbor and your homemaker neighbor and your corporate businessperson neighbor and your hippie neighbor. Love changes people. Love changes the world. Love changes our hearts and our lives and our souls. Love starts with me. Love starts with you. 

Choose love - even when it's the most difficult choice. 

Choose love, always.

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