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My brother and I were driving to a family function the other day. Usually we would be talking about what adventures his kids were up to or how work is going. Instead we started talking about politics. Because who doesn’t want some lighthearted political conversation while sitting in rush hour traffic?!?! We got into some heavy things and covered a lot of ground. I was happy when I got out of the car. Not because traffic was crazy and not because I “won.” I was happy because even though it was a heavy conversation, we were able to listen to each other and learn. Both of us were hearing each other. We were both listening.
The particular topic isn’t important. The conversation is.
At times, our voices escalated and at times I got angry that he didn’t get it, but we kept talking. As we got out of the car all I was thinking was, how refreshing. Maybe it was because we were trapped with each other during that hour-long drive. I would prefer to think it is because we can talk without damaging the relationship. We can listen.
Then another thought struck me. I miss this. I miss sitting with people with opposing viewpoints and having intelligent, respectful conversations about topics of the day. So I have decided to change that, at least in my circle.
I will not engage with folks who are posting political rants on social media. I may call that person and ask to talk though. I will do my best not to get angry when someone has different views than I do. I will listen and try my best to come from a place of understanding. I will not be framing my response in my head when I should be listening to their thoughts.
I cannot stop the things going on in the world. What I can do though, is offer a safe space for conversation. I can listen and converse with my friends and family members, even when I disagree with their point of view. I can listen. I wish you all the same.