Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love & War

They say you only really understand something when you can describe it to a 6 year old in one breath, using simple terms.

That said, there's a LOT I don't understand.

One thing I know: I hate conflict. I have a black belt in conflict avoidance, I'm pretty sure. I don't know if this is emotionally healthy on some occasions, but it keeps a lot of drama out of my life. Not all, but most.

An additional factor has always played a role in my life and it is only today that I'm realizing what, exactly, that aspect is. And now, since I understand it (I think), I shall venture to describe it in one breath and simple terms: Deliberate, avoidable conflict makes me feel weak and sick, regardless of my involvement or opinion in the "discussion."

When people choose to escalate rather than venture to understand, I get sad. Claiming that makes me sound terribly sensitive, which is not really a top 10 word to describe me, yet there it is. Verbal wars make me feel physically ill, just like some people get woozy at the sight of blood or the crack of bone against bone.

Give me a fist fight any day. At least with physical fighting you see the damage. You know what to treat and how the injury impairs you. With verbal fights there's a veritable spray of pain that you cannot track. Some of the bigger "punches" may register as needing attention, but so many sneak through to harden, warp, sting, undermine, and demean in ways even the recipient may not realize.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Yeah, that's a lie. People don't try to commit suicide because someone punched them once. They don't become bigots because of a physical black eye. Words do that to us.

That's my belief, at least. Others may have differing experiences that makes them believe the converse. Between us probably lies the truth. Who knows?

The point is: I don't know... and I wish more people were willing to confess that they don't know either, rather than assuming the worst of another, taking a immovable stance based on limited information, then going to battle.

Then again... just like verbal welfare makes me sick, others need it to feel alive--they don't feel they're doing their part or advancing their cause unless they're sticking it to someone they feel needs to be converted. Those who don't agree with them are somehow automatically un-evolved idiots or unenlightened.


Berating and condescension are not the answers. Harsh words and demoralizing attacks aren't either. No mob is remembered favorably by history even though they felt righteous at the time when they sought to destroy witches, religions, races, cultures, sects, or anything else under the sun. Conversely, when a minority appeals to the good of a ruling power, change happens fluidly and in a way that doesn't make people cringe. Do men walk around muttering these days about it being silly that women got the right to vote? If so, such men are in a huge un-vocal minority, because most men don't even blink at this right. And was a war fought over it? No. After a few failing approaches, women adjusted their approach, appealed to the high sensibilities of men, and got their way. Today their battle is a paragraph in history books that we really don't pay attention to anymore because it's the status quo. Back in their day, however, the opposition was very real... and they overcame it by being smart, not vicious.

Change of hearts happen every day, and they are expedited with love. They are hampered by venom and thoughtless attacks. Hate polarizes, love unites. That's what I believe. And after a day of seeing what's being posted on Facebook by well-meaning and passionate friends, I just had to get that out there.

Because love, in my mind, includes the ability to look someone in the eye and disagree, but still wish them the best, even if we can't agree on what "best" is.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. What a powerful message and I completely agree. Thanks! You are amazing, as usual.