[insults & injury]

Ugh. I don't know about you but I'm so tired of hearing about the shutdown.

Mostly, I'm tired of listening to the rhetoric surrounding it. Both sides are arguing from these emotionally-charged platforms, telling us that if we don't agree with them we hate America. Even in the discussions I hear around me and read on Facebook, there isn't a lot of intelligent conversation going on. Mostly it's just fear-mongering. And that, my friends, drives me batty.

So no, I'm not going to be talking about the shutdown or the debt ceiling or any of that nonsense.

But it did get me thinking.

The morning after the shutdown actually started, I was settling into my desk at work. I don't have an assigned desk yet since the whole floor is going to be rearranged in the near future. In the mean time, I'm left toting all my notebooks and supplies to & from the office daily. While I was unpacking, I overheard a conversation between two co-workers. One of them made a comment that really got under my skin. It was ignorant and offensive to my personal political beliefs. I walked away for a few minutes.

I chose not to say anything for a variety of reasons, ranging from a conviction that politics are not to be discussed in the workplace (unless you work in politics) to not wanting to rock the boat since I'm the new kid on the block & I hope to stay with this company long term.

Then I started thinking.

The night before, Mom and I were sitting on the porch when she showed me this video (please please please go watch it. I've tried every way from Sunday to embed it but ABC is bent on it not being visible on blogger. Which is ridiculous.).

Immediately the video popped into my mind. What the waitress did was indefensible. The silence of the other patrons, especially those that disagreed with the waitress, was likely indefensible, at least in my opinion.

At least that was my immediate reaction. But would I really have the courage to stand up for someone in this situation? Sure I chewed out some random tourists in Costa Rica for breaking off pieces of a coral reef (no joke). But could I really interfere in a situation even more emotionally charged than a hunk of coral?

I pondered the question all night.

Then the next morning I found myself pondering it again after I chose to walk away and not say anything when someone insulted a group of people, including myself.

So I decided to do a little social experiment and posed the question to my friends on Facebook. The answers varied, from say something immediately to say nothing to say nothing at first but confront later if the problem continues. There were a variety of rationales presented too, but most of them centered on the idea that sometimes you have to suck it up & ignore situations that make you personally uncomfortable.

You see, the video and the work situation are both difficult in their own ways. Just listen to the answers given by the patrons as to why they did or did not intervene. We all know that "doing the right thing" involves, well, getting involved. Yet so often we don't, instead saying that everyone is entitled to their opinions and we try not to get involved in other people's lives. I think that attitude is overwhelming prevalent in modern society and I dare say its consequences are devastating.

But what about the work comments? There are far more shades of gray in that situation (you might even say there are 50 different shades. See what I did there?): it's the workplace, it's political, it's offensive to you personally and not someone else. But that last part raises another question, mainly about whether we should place equal emphasis on standing up for ourselves & standing up for others. Too often we're told to stand up for others but if it's just you being insulted, to simply take it on the chin and say nothing.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we truly love our neighbor and stand up for them if we can't even stand up for ourselves? That's the component that gets misinterpreted time and again: you have to love yourself. Not in a Kanye West narcissist way, but in a way that requires you to treat yourself with respect and dignity and as a child of Christ. It's the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have done unto you. And that's a hard thing to deal with, especially since we're also told to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Honestly I get stuck in this loop between those two concepts and end up feeling like an overwhelmed robot in a cartoon. You know what I mean: when their head starts twitching so fast that they explode. That's how I feel.

And that's how I feel about all of these issues. I don't have a clear answer. I really don't. But it's been on my heart & mind a lot lately. All I can do is pray for a little enlightenment, a little wisdom to guide me through the next encounter.

1 comment:

  1. I get what you're saying (I believe our views differ but that's OK because...America :)) and I believe I answered your question on Facebook with not saying anything because I hear stuff all the time that offends me.

    And I mean literally offends me.

    It's not a "I don't agree with their policies" comment, which is fine because I get it. It's the name calling. It's the realization that we really haven't gone as far as I thought we had in a society. It's the fact that at the end of the day, all I could do was sit there, bite my tongue, shake my foot and try not to cry at my desk.

    It was deeper than agreeing or disagreeing with policies. It's realizing that people will never see me as equal and I have to deal with that. Maybe I should have said something, but I realized I have bills to pay and couldn't risk it.

    You're right, this is all hard. It's hard to find out what to do and what to say and when to say it. And I think, honestly, if you have that in your spirit to say something, by all means follow it. I believe it's in the New Testament that we don't speak out of anger, and that's true. But if you've breathed and collected your thoughts, I don't see why you shouldn't.

    I'm sorry for talking so much on your post. Just wanted to get that out. I hope it all works well for you. I know you'll do/say the right things.