"I didn't come down here to change anybody's opinion about anything. I came down here to ease my own mind about everything." - Todd Snider
Hold on to your hats, folks. No Karate Kid topics or flea market finds in this post. This one's on the serious tip.
I had a great time yesterday at the Moccasin Creek Festival, but there's been one conversation I had while I was there that I haven't been able to get out of my head all day. You can call this a "Dear Diary" moment, but indulge me while I get something off my chest.
Having only been at the festival for maybe 30 minutes, I somehow found myself in conversation with a man I'd never met before. On a beautiful sunny afternoon with live bluegrass coming from the stage barely 100 feet away, I'm not sure how our conversation turned towards such serious issues as racism and social injustice. I don't know this man and I don't know his story. I don't know what he does for a living and I don't know anything about his background. What I do know is that he casually dropped the n-word into the short conversation twice.
Do you know how I responded? I walked away.
Those that know me can attest to the fact that I can be quite vocal about social issues I believe in. I've challenged people close to me and put friendships on the line in the past when it's come to these issues. Yesterday, to a man I did not know, I said nothing. Instead, I raised my eyebrows, shook my head slightly and said, "This is a conversation for another day." With that I excused myself to go buy a drink.
I'm not looking to beat myself up over my lack of response and I'm not looking to put myself on a pedestal for my liberal opinions. I'm simply disappointed in myself and need to get this off my chest.
Folks, there's been a lot of talk lately about issues of race in our country ranging from the actions of police officers to what flag flies over a state capitol. I'm not here to tell you what I think or to try to make you change your own opinions. My thoughts on gun control, racial profiling, and social justice are not going to change your opinions on the same topics. What I can tell you is this: whether we see ourselves on the left or on the right, a good majority of us consider ourselves to be Christians or part of some other religion with a similar moral foundation. As godly people, we are called to do one thing above all else: Love.
We are to love God and love others. Plain and simple.
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
Nothing says we always have to agree. Nothing we are told says to only love those who look like we do or act like we do or have the same lifestyle that we do.
We are to love each other.
I'm not mad at this guy I somehow found myself talking to yesterday. I'm mad at myself for not speaking up on behalf of the love I have for all of my friends who are different in any way from the majority. Why I've always done this before and didn't yesterday, I'm not sure -- but I regret not making it clear to this man why I was excusing myself from the conversation.
Todd Snider played a popular song of his last night at the festival called Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males.
Considering some of those in attendance, I'll call this ironic.
"Life's too short to worry. Life's too long to wait. It's too short not to love everybody. Life's too long to hate." - Todd Snider
The Summer of Tim continues...