Someday that will be my go to response when asked what I think about topics near and dear to my heart.
I’m not there yet, but I’m aimed in that direction.
It’s taken me 59 years to get to this point. So I think I can endure another few weeks of the current political climate without my head exploding.
I am weary. Between news, social media, and the opinions of the adamant minorities I do a lot of mental “la la la-ing”.
Let me explain that.
Back in the day Dear Husband and I were both very passionate about a lot of causes, and very vocal when we had the chance. There was no social media. There were occasions when people gathered, phone calls, letters to the editor, and responses to other passionate people stating their views.
We both did more than our share of sharing our opinions. Mine were often more vocal and immediate, his more mulled over and written down.
And after years of involvement in and advocating for those causes, we came up with a philosophy about causes in general that I still think applies. That is that with any given cause there are maybe 10% of people who feel strongly for it, and another 10% that are strongly opposed, and the other 80% who listen politely but can’t wait to be away from both extremes.
I was one of the 10%.
If you knew me very well at all, you probably knew where I stood on certain issues, and were not about to ask me for my opinion on anything.
I was, to many people I’m sure, like the adults in a Charlie Brown special. What they heard when I got on my soapbox was, “Wah, wah, wah.”
Now I’m the one hearing nonsense.
It’s not that I don’t care deeply about certain issues. In fact, they are probably still the ones I used to try to convince others of, with even more added.
It’s that I’ve finally come to agree with Dear Husband’s view that while 10% are for and 10% are against a cause, neither extreme is going to convince the other extreme to come over to their side. And the 80% in the middle aren’t interested enough to became fanatics.
And I can admit that as one of the 10% I really wanted to convert a hard-core, opposite-minded person to see the light of my position.
In my blog I share thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are very personal. And those of you who read always have the choice of skipping any post that you don’t like or agree with. I’m not out so much to persuade you to agree with me, as to just illustrate how I see the world and how God is changing me to see it more through his eyes.
This is one of those things. Even just a few years ago I would have thought nothing of taking any opportunity to share every thought I had with someone I was talking to, especially if I knew they were in the opposite camp on an issue.
As I look back on it I can see that this came out of my belief that I was right. And beyond that, that I was telling you the truth.
Now, after five and a half years of recovery, I will freely tell you that I’m not right about everything anymore. And while I want and try to speak truth, I’m trying to let God show me how to do it in love.
Because the way I used to be was not very loving at all.
I did not beat around the bush. I called it like I saw it. And I would often make outrageous assumptions, as if just because someone was on the other side of an issue I could say with confidence what their motives were, what their values were, what their intentions were. And none of them were good.
Maybe it’s aging. Maybe it’s weariness. But I’m not interested in heated debates where neither side listens to the other, where each just wants to be louder and more insistent and more smug in their own rightness.
So ashamed that I’ve done that.
Four years ago I was finding my rhythm in recovery when my mom died, and I went through a time of what I call situational depression. I didn’t care. About anything.
I quit reading the paper or watching the news. I didn’t want to go anywhere or talk to anyone.
I made myself take advantage of free counseling offered by hospice. I only went once.
But I did go to a women’s Bible study at my church, and I faithfully attended Celebrate Recovery, making myself stay connected to other people I could trust and open up to about my numbness.
During that time a friend made a statement that has had a profound effect on me.
“I don’t have to have an opinion about everything.”
I had never considered it an option to not have strong thoughts about everything. But it was an intriguing idea.
Turns out that was the seed that has led me into a deeper relationship with God, a desire to learn about boundaries and what is truly mine to have a say over and what isn’t, and a new way of looking at other people.
Sitting here thinking about that phrase “in my humble opinion”, I can only think of a handful of people I’ve known in my life who truly held an humble opinion.
Of themselves, and of the world around them.
They would be people who didn’t think they really knew enough to state their take on an issue. Or that their thoughts were not as important as other people’s. And they certainly wouldn’t have posted their positions on social media for the world to see and comment on and engage in battle over.
But they would be the few people in this world that I would turn to when I really needed to find some clarity, to figure out how I felt or maybe should feel about something I was struggling with.
And therein lies the key.
Right now tempers are hot, righteous indignation is spewing all over from every side, and I have no interest in what people who are just like I used to be have to say.
Because I know how self-focused my stances sometimes were back in the day.
I cannot know everyone’s motives and values and intentions, and I’m not saying that they are all bad in the current world condition.
I’m honestly just sick and tired of everyone’s opinions.
If I really want to know yours, if you’re one of that little handful of people whose thoughts I value, I’ll ask.
And I’ll try not to tell you mine unless you really want to know.