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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Does it Matter?

“Mom, I have been dating someone who I am crazy about and I am going to marry him.” Mom said, “I sure hope he’s not an atheist or [worse] a democrat!”  And so this is how my beloved Mike would be introduced to my family.  Each time I introduce Mike to someone now I am tempted to say, “I would like to introduce you to my democratic, atheistic, husband whose name really doesn’t matter to a closed minded, conservative, hypocritical Christian, such as your self because you can’t look past the differences.” There would be several things wrong with that.  First of all, it was a run-on sentence with punctuation errors enough to get me arrested by the editing police. Secondly, I don’t believe that everyone views people of different political and religious beliefs as the enemy. 

I enjoyed coffee and conversation with Mike’s sister this week and at one point she asked, “does your mom know you’re a democrat?”  She does and she’s not happy about it.  She IS however happy that I got a chance to love again.  She maintains that Mike is her favorite son-in-law. (the only one too)

There is so much that could be learned from this little example of life and the differences that we each have.  At the core of every person is what makes each of us unique.  My values have been shaped by events and people; good and bad.  My approach to politics and faith has been uniquely shaped by the same.   Does any of this really matter when it comes to caring about others?  I spend time with people who are Re-troub-lican and Demon-crat.  I can be seen with those who are gay and those who are not.  Sometimes I worship with Christians and later share conversation with those who are not.  They are all welcome in my life because they have something in their core that we share in common.  They are people who celebrate the successes of others and are there to pick up the fallen no matter their background.  They are people who really don’t care whether I vote one way or another; or if I vote at all.  This special group of people I call “friends”.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Defeat of the Still Small Voice

Today as I was thinking about the people in my life, one person in particular came to mind.  The more I thought about her, the more I began to think that I should tell her how much she is appreciated. The battle in my mind ensued. There was a little voice that said, “ah, she knows she is appreciated, she has a million friends and colleagues that affirm her every day”.  That little voice continued with reasons why my words of encouragement would really be insignificant. I would take time to list all of those reasons for you if I thought it would somehow validate my case. 

After a rather lengthy battle I tossed my thoughts to the wind as if to say, “screw it, it really doesn’t matter much”.  I decided to go grab a sandwich at one of my favorite little Kansas City stops and when I returned home I headed outside with the animals and a good book. I no sooner got set up for comfort outside when the thought returned.  It wasn’t like it was this great spiritual awakening or anything.  It was more like the still small voice had been replaced with a migraine inducing, explosive shout, telling me to sit down and write a note of encouragement.  In my attempt to make it quick and painless I began to write an e-mail.  But each time I hit the back-space key to start over, the nagging monster voice would pound on my head.  So finally I gave in to the fact that this unexpected word of encouragement was going to happen, and that it was going to happen in a personal, tangible way.  I got out my note cards and pen and in my best penmanship wrote a note of encouragement. 

The more I have thought of this today I am reminded of people who have taken time over the years to write me letters of encouragement.  Although it is nice to get text messages, phone calls and e-mail, there is something more personal about receiving a handwritten message from a friend.  It to me feels like having a part of that person with me and it is undeniable that the words are well thought out and meaningful.

So my challenge this week for you, my readers, is that you would sit down and write just one handwritten note to someone who may need encouragement from you in a tangible way.

Thanks for stopping by,

Amy Lynn Michael 

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