There are few things I won’t discuss openly and one of them is politics, especially if I sense it won’t be a honest dialogue or someone just wants to debate me. Well last evening we were dining with friends, whom we knew were of a different political persuasion than us, and enjoying our time together. Then the conversation turned. The question came if we had seen Rubio’s announcement for the presidential bid in 2016 (it was being talked about on one of the many televisions in the restaurant we were in).
Too be honest, I had not yet tuned into who is running because it is too early for me to think about it, so I did not see it. Somehow it came out in the discussion that I was on the “opposite” side of the political aisle than our friends Being the kindhearted and inquisitive friend he is, he politely asked me to enter a dialogue with him because he had been unable to find anyone willing to do so.
Now, I tend to shy away from this topic unless I am pretty sure I am around those who agree with me, (because that makes us feel safe and that other people are thinking the same thoughts we are in regards to politics and policy.) There are lots of reason for me to run the other way, but mainly the conversation turns to bantering back and forth without really seeking to understand each other and that exhausts me.
Several things have stayed with me as I reflect back on the conversation. First, neither of us are extremely proud of the political climate in the country. Some of his concerns were the same as mine. Second, it was a beginning. It was a beginning to learn from each other rather than to defend each other’s beliefs. And finally, it was an invitation. Sincere. Genuine. Seeking. As he began to ask me questions, I carefully chose my words—not so much to not offend, but because it was an exercise for me to really clarify what I look for in a leader, especially a person who has the power to affect millions of lives. It is so hard to get past all the hype to truly see what each candidate can bring to the country.
Not what I have not shared is that this man is the same age as my father and has lived an extraordinary life and makes me laugh. He is my friend. He and his wife will be embarking on a another journey fighting cancer together. Yet while in the midst of waiting for final details about her upcoming surgery, he is wanting to dialogue with someone who differs from where he is politically.
So I am thankful and prayerful tonight as I write this blog. Thankful for the invitation to share in a way that didn’t put me on the defensive but allowed me to share what I am passionate about and how that guides my vote. Thankful for their friendship and support of not just my hubby and I but of our family. Compassion and care radiates from them. Prayerful tonight that what was offered in the invitation was a sign of hope. It gave me hope that there are people who are willing to dialogue rather than debate so that learning can occur. Our intentions are not necessarily to change each other’s minds, but to enlarge our perspectives. I don’t know where the dialogue will go, but I am confident that if both of us proceed with the intent of learning from each other, than we both win. It is not an either/or, but a both/and. I always remember there is more than one right answer, and through his invitation, I am reminded of this wisdom.
I also lift them up daily in prayer as they travel the road ahead….it helps when friends can travel along.