My son is over 13 months old now. I can’t believe how much time has flown by since the nearly 51 hour marathon that his mother spent in labor back in late August 2017. We thought he was going to be an eclipse baby on August 21st. Lucas had other plans. His due date was August 22nd, so we thought he would finally arrive then. He decided to pop into this world at 12:59a on August 23rd, 2017. My life has been changed by him, and I know that I will help shape his life over the years. I was created to be Lucas’ father, and no one or nothing on this Earth can change that. Seeing his face break into a smile or when he giggles makes my heart overflow with joy. He is a wonderful little boy. I love him so.
A lot of life changes are coming our way, so I thought I would take time to write letters to my son. In the letters, I try to outline what’s going on in our lives currently and just things I’ve learned over the years. Some of it isn’t groundbreaking. In fact, most of it is a reminder to him that he’s worth something and that his mom and dad love him very, very much. That no matter what life throws at him, that he will make it through…especially with the support of his family and friends.
One of the things that I wrote to him was that life is too short to be full of bitterness towards people we know and those that we “know”. I put the second know in quotes, because I mainly reference those folks that we know through a single frame of reference: political activity. Being in active leadership of a Republican Party wore me down. It made me a bitter person, and I’m thankful for being able to take a break from active leadership for now. Regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, we are bigger than this. We may have self-affixed titles of Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, or whatever, but we are still human. We still have feelings, and, regardless how thick of a skin you may have, words can and do hurt. And it’s okay to admit that.
It’s easy to dehumanize people behind a screen and lob grenades at the opposing side because they are wrong, and you’re going to prove it with a long dissertation on Facebook or Twitter. Heck, it’s even easier when “they” are either under the Gold Dome or in the Beltway in DC, but they are people too…just like us. I could get into a discussion on why single-interest, hyper-partisan groups would rather perpetuate the discontent rather than find practical solutions to help continue their own existence, but that’s for another show.
Not to get all Mr. Rogers on you, but I like most of you. Hey, I told you I’m not Mr. Rogers. He would like all of you people, but you’re stuck with me. I’ll be sure to issue refunds at the bottom of this post if you’re dissatisfied. Anyway, what I mean is that we can like each other…even though we may not see eye-to-eye on policy, political talking points, or candidates. I’ll be even more gracious and say that if you can’t like one another, then you can at least be nice and kind to one another. You know, the whole thing of “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all” and “treat your neighbor as you would yourself”? Yeah, those. It should go double for me.
Okay, with all of this talk, does it mean that I’ll follow it 100%? No. I know, I know. I hear the collective gasps coming from across our great state and accusations of “hypocrite” about to be launched, but you did read the part about being human, right? We aren’t perfect. We can try, strive, and, by the grace of God, do better, but we’ll still fall. It’s bound to happen, but that doesn’t mean we give up. Nope, it means we get up and try again…maybe even a little harder….and show a little humility and say that we’re sorry. I’m not saying apologize for your convictions and beliefs, but apologize for your behaviors and attitude if an argument gets too heated and emotions run too high. It’s hard to say “I’m sorry”…especially when you’re convinced that you were trying to lay out a logical argument. It’s practical advice that we should apply to our daily lives. Again, I’m speaking for myself, but I’m willing to share.
Respect and grace are hard to show, but it requires a humble heart. I know I won’t be a perfect father, but I know my actions will have an impact upon his life. I want to show him how to treat other people with grace and respect…even when they may not deserve it.