Loving People Through the Election (we can do it)

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“We all have inside of us a Mother Teresa and a Hitler.” Unknown

Almost daily I wonder if our country, my family and friendships, and I are going to make it until Election Day. These final four weeks are bringing out the worst in a lot of us. It’s telling when I’m relieved to read about Hurricane Matthew instead of politics. Even though I unfollowed most of my big political posters (people who post on Facebook), my newsfeed is filling up again with politics as the election nears.

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There are diehards who know they’re right, and those of us struggling not to be wrong when we don’t agree with them. And when I do hang out with friends who agree, I want to be respectful instead of rebellious towards those who don’t, but that’s not easy sometimes if they’re rebellious first. #WhileLovingthePeopleinIt

I typically stay far from political discussions even though I have near-to-my-heart opinions about politics, and that’s what I’ve figured out is the “problem.” Since working on my manuscript about getting in touch with my feelings, I no longer can stay solely in my head like I used to. However, sojourning to my heart is scary, especially now. It feels safer, in a sick sort of way, to practice judgment and anger rather than understanding and compassion.

It came to a head the other night when I unfriended a friend because I couldn’t stay away from her page, even though I never commented when I was there. I unfollowed her a while back, but I’d still check in every few days even though I promised myself I wouldn’t … just like she promised to stop posting about politics. It seemed she couldn’t help herself anymore than I could.

She and I only know each other through mutual friends, so this isn’t a lifelong and special bond I’m breaking. She never comments on my page either. We’re distant, so I wondered if my unfriending was even worth blogging about until it dawned on me the struggle isn’t about our relationship with each other. It’s about our relationship with ourselves.

This is about getting my own life while loving the people in it.

I visited her page hoping she’d stop posting about politics because she said she would, and I wanted her to. I wanted us both to stop letting ourselves down, and I wanted her to go first.

I wanted her to stop reacting to friends with arrogance and show some LOVE like her cover photo says. That way, I could show some love also.

I wanted to like her again like I did before this election season got ugly and she did too. She’s not my only friend who’s gone off the deep end about politics, but she’s the most verbal and vicious. That is, unless you come behind my closed doors. I’ve said some pretty ugly things about her to my husband.

He reminded me that she’s afraid just like I am. He also clarified that I’ll never understand how she’s handling her fear because it’s not how I handle mine. She is confrontational. I run. She knows she’s right. I doubt myself. She is unapologetic. I say “I’m sorry” before I figure out if I actually am.

Going to her page triggered all sorts of uncomfortable emotions and unpleasant thoughts. I’d read her comments and make up ones in my head to put her in her place. I wanted to straighten out her thinking with the same kind of sarcasm she was writing to others. I unfriended her the night I felt unambiguously (which means really, really, really) justified in meeting her unkind comments with some of my own. I didn’t write them, but I wanted to.

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That’s when I thought, I am her.

I believe we all have some of her in us. And just like the quote at the beginning said about Mother Teresa and Hitler, we all have inside of us some Trump and some Hillary. I can hear it already, “There’s no way I’m like him/her.” Grumble, deny, grumble, grumble, deny. Yeah, we are. In fact, I’ve watched friends act just like the candidate they’re criticizing.

Unpleasant news, I know, because if we’re hating one of the candidates, we’re likely hating ourselves. We “sort of” know how much we’re alike whether we accept it or not … whether we accept our immorality, our crudeness, our dishonesty, our scorn, our bratty fits, and on and on. We say, “I would never … ,” but we do.

Author Carla Laureano posted similar ideas on Facebook. She said, “The reason why we are so horrified by the candidates and the way they’ve been running their campaigns is because they represent us perfectly as a nation, down to every last hidden sin and evil thought: greed, lust, hatred, fear, pride … There is no longer a veneer of civility behind which we as a country can hide and pretend any sort of respectability or character. In order to deserve better, we need to BE better.”

We’re all capable of mudslinging madness, and we’re also capable of Love that overcomes it. My unfriended friend’s page is a jumble of conflicting emotions that aren’t usually so visual, but it’s right there on her page and in writing, which is why she and her page are so bothersome. On there, the clash of love and hate is palpable and problematic and politically incorrect … and it’s you and me. It’s all of us.

It’s like the story I doubt is true since I can’t find a reputable source, but I appreciate it anyway. Mother Teresa was asked when she began her ministry and she answered, “On the day I discovered I had a Hitler inside me.” Fact or not, I’m buying it because it makes her human and relatable, and it makes me feel better that she’s flawed too.

I was still a little crazy about my friend’s page until I read what another friend suggested about our days leading up to the election. He said something like this, “Shut up and vote, and find something creative to do besides obsess about November 8th.”

Thanks, Jason. I think I’ll do just that. #GettingYourOwnLife

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And to think, I almost canceled three days of art classes beginning next Thursday, and I suspect it was because I only have time to be crazy, not creative. Maybe that’s why last night I ran into a fellow painter. Seeing her reminded me to stay out of my head and lean heartward.

What about you? Obsess about politics or pursue a real passion during the next four weeks? Let’s encourage each other in ways that are creative, not crazy.

In This Together,
Kim

Thanks for the first three pix, Pixabay.com.

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16 responses »

    • Hahahaha, Andrew. I love my nonconfrontational, Dundee-like friends. We have to hang together and not get drug into the muck of it all.

      Thanks for your light-hearted response. I love it! ❤

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, Kim. Between the hurricane and the political rancor I see and feel, I’ve been brought to the verge of meltdown way too many times in the past few weeks, and I need to channel those feelings into my writing instead of trying to escape. As an empath, it’s really difficult to watch friends suffering because of something a candidate said or did. For me, all the news and discussion about sexual assault has created a tsunami of emotions because of my own experience that I stuffed under the rug for 20 years. You’re right about the Hitler part of us, the dark shadow we try to hide, because I’ve seen it in myself lately. While some release their anger in public posts, I stay silent and turn it inwards, but some of it seeps out anyway. One of my neighbors said she noticed an angrier tone to some of my non-political posts recently. Guess I didn’t hide it as well as I thought. I keep trying to believe what I posted from Max Lucado the other day, that regardless of who wins on Nov. 8, God’s still in charge. Hope you don’t unfriend me before or after the election.

    • I do the same thing, Mary … I keep a lot inside, and that’s not usually good for me. What I like about writing these sorts of posts is I spew whatever I want, just like I’ve seen friends do in public, and then I clean it up to reflect the kind of attitude I want to have even if it’s not the one I have every moment. The more I write, the better I feel and the better I am at accepting others. It’s been a miraculous process since I committed to writing regular posts since January. ❤

      No doubt this election season has put a lot of us on edge, so I can only imagine how you must feel with all the other stressors as well. I'm sorry it's piled on with a hurricane on top of Rich being so sick. I'm praying things lighten up soon.

      I loved the post by Max Lucado. Loved it! I don't think I'll settle down until after November 8, but I've reminded myself about what he wrote dozens of times already. I knew it, of course, but there's something helpful about reading it and being reminded of it and having it to hold onto. I so appreciate you sharing it on your page.

      No worries about our friendship unless you bail! ❤ Love you.

  2. I think this election brought a lot of things out in all of us. Then there are the hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and other natural disasters. We have ISIS and persecution and all of the horrible things we tend to hear on the news all of the time, I think we are miracles if we are surviving and still have our sanity. I started getting SO irritated about the election thing even after I posted something about it. Now that is a surprise! LOL. But then I thought, wow, this is the first time I have seen so many people who really CARE about the election and in previous ones they really might not have. We care about our country as frustrating as this process is, it is bringing out some good things as well. We are a country struggling to find “herself” once again and I can sure identify with that! ME TOO!!

    • Oh, goodness, Jenine … I can identify also! What a wise analogy. We are struggling because so many of us do care and we’re fighting for what we believe in on both sides. Just like in relationships, we’re doing the best we can. ❤ Thanks for revealing the beauty of this political season … I haven't heard anyone else be able to pull that off.

      And, yes, I've also been more frustrated by this election than any other before it, but there is something bittersweet that I've only caught a glimpse of before reading your comment. I have recognized more of us are on our knees than ever before, and that's a good thing! Thank you, God! You figured out how to get us there. 🙂

      Thanks for being someone I can talk to (okay, spew all over) no matter what I'm thinking and feeling. I love, love, love you! ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. From Facebook (Frankie Barnhill Allen’s page) ~

    I needed this today. Realized this election has brought out the worst in me and to those I’ve affected, I’m truly sorry. Just deleted several posts and committed to use the next four weeks to CREATE again instead of worrying, complaining, and allowing negativity in my life. Thank you Kim Henson for the soul searching. CHALLENGE to all my friends. Create something positive and Non-political between now and Nov 8th. Starting Now!

  4. From Facebook (Robin McCormick Simmons’ page) ~

    Thanks Kim for grounding me! Lol! Im getting out of my head and on with life now😘 You’re right on with this! I, too, respect everyone’s right to choose. I do admit the media/press ruffle my feathers, but since Matthew I know there’s so much more to do with my time than watch them twist things to make a story. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t believe everything I read , but…) I will vote, not from what lies/rumors have been told, but from my heart for the candidate who is best to handle the needs of my precious country. Ya know, not being able to watch tv for several days was refreshing! Maybe I should sit down and try to write (positive things not negative) and/or put my energies into being uplifting and optimistic! Luv ya Kim! Now on to getting creative ❤️😘

    Kim Henson
    October 14 at 11:41pm · Myrtle Beach ·
    During these next four weeks before the election, we can figure out a way to be kind and loving and creative. In fact, creativity may save us. Go be creative. ❤ #GettingYourOwnLife #WhileLovingthePeopleinIt

    CLICK below to read more.

    Loving People Through the Election (we can do it)
    “We all have inside of us a Mother Teresa and a Hitler.” Unknown Almost daily I wonder if our country, my family and friendships, and I are going to make it until Election Day. These final four wee…
    SKIMHENSON.WORDPRESS.COM

    5 Rick Wall and 4 others

    Amber Solis It's hard to balance friendships and political opinions! I don't know many people that have kept their opinions to themselves. Each election I witness carries more tension and causes more division than the last. It is hard to bite our tongues when we feel so strongly about our beliefs!
    I think it's not what we say, it's how we say it that matters. And sometimes that means sharing our opinions (after counting to ten, lol) and sometimes that means keeping it in, exercising our right to vote, and knowing God is in control no matter what! ☺
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · October 15 at 5:47pm

    Robin McCormick Simmons Absolutely Amber❤ God bless America 🇺🇸❤
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 6:01pm

    Patricia Siratt Amen
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 7:12pm

    Kim Henson ❤
    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 12:34am

    Kim Henson Robin McCormick Simmons, I can get tangled up by the media and by people who are self-righteous about their choice. I don't usually get this involved in politics, but it just sort of happened this time around. I figured the best way to vent was to write about and this is what I ended up with (after deleting some of it). 🙂 Thanks so much for passing it along. Yep, time to get creative. I love you! ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:33am

    Amber Solis It's hard to balance friendships and political opinions! I don't know many people that have kept their opinions to themselves. Each election I witness carries more tension and causes more division than the last. It is hard to bite our tongues when we f…See More
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · October 15 at 5:47pm

    Kim Henson replied · 3 Replies
    Kim Henson
    Kim Henson Robin McCormick Simmons, I can get tangled up by the media and by people who are self-righteous about their choice. I don't usually get this involved in politics, but it just sort of happened this time around. I figured the best way to vent was to write about and this is what I ended up with (after deleting some of it). 🙂 Thanks so much for passing it along. Yep, time to get creative. I love you! ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:33am

  5. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Lis Morgan, Angie Mojica, Cathy Baker and 32 others

    7 shares (Connie Gardner, Angie Mojica, Frankie Barnhill Allen, Robin McCormick Simmons, Doris Boyd-Piver, Katrina D. Owen, Laurie Bruun)

    Kim Henson Thanks for the quote, Carla Laureano. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 12:04am

    Carla Laureano My pleasure. I said it was going to be my only political post; therefore from here on out I'm only posting videos of kittens and photos of food. #promise
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · October 15 at 12:06am · Edited

    Kim Henson Carla Laureano, I'm keeping quiet also. I may just share all of your posts from here on out. 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 1:58am · Edited

    Carol Rheaume Thank you. I needed this.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 9:06am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Carol Rheaume. ❤ I needed to write it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 10:27am

    Carol Rheaume Kim Henson I don't get ugly about it, but it has been consuming my mind. Not a good thing.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 8:43pm

    Kim Henson Carol Rheaume, I don't get ugly either, but I sure don't like the way I feel about the news, some of my friends, or myself some days. There are many other constructive and creative things I could be doing. It was so good to write this because now I feel like I have to do them. LoL.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Carol Rheaume Kim Henson it actually forces accountability for what the Lord is speaking to you.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs

    Kim Henson Carol Rheaume, it sure does. And funny you mentioned that today because our preacher this morning talked about an accountability group he's been in for many years. It's four men who meet every Thursday no matter what. It made me realize how important accountability is, and here you mention it. ❤ Love this sort of thing.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs

    Carol Rheaume Kim Henson The same Spirit! 💖
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 hrs

    Kim Henson Carol Rheaume, yes. ❤
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Diane Klebanow Very well said. I know from prior posts that we may not agree politically, but there are civil (and many uncivil) ways to deal with this. I respect everyone's right to support the candidate of their choice, but too many have gotten downright ugly abo…See More
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 10:30am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Diane Klebanow. I appreciate your comment. I'm like you, I respect others' rights to vote for whoever they want, I just want to keep it kind. ❤ Congrats on your new career. How exciting! It's good to be busy with the things we love.
    Like · Reply · October 15 at 10:44am

    Lis Morgan I loved this so much I read the WHOLE thing OUT loud to Chipper. You are a gem, Kimmy and I'm so glad that I get to learn from you often. ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 10:48am

    Kim Henson Awe, Lis Morgan. Thank you. I love your comment, our friendship, and you. ❤ I learn so much from you too.
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 10:54am

    Mary McKerihan Wilson I left a comment on your blog and also one for your previous post. Thanks for keeping the posts coming even when I'm not writing.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 11:22am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for your comments, Mary McKerihan Wilson. I'm headed to my blog in a little while. You'll be back at it soon, I'm sure. You have a lot going on and then add no power … ugh. I'm looking forward to your next blog post.
    Like · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 11:34am

    Summer Turner If you're thinking about what you want to write, Mary, then you're engaged in the writing process.. Reframing… It keeps your energy in the right place. 😉
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · October 15 at 11:37am

    Donna Feddick Fagerstrom This is so good and spot on, on so many levels. Thank you Kim for being transparent, authentic and vulnerable. ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 11:50am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Donna Feddick Fagerstrom. Some of the posts you've shared have helped me settle down about my decision. It's been a tough political season. I appreciate your friendship. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 11:39pm

    Joel Carter I like creative outlets for solutions… They work,Kim Henson !!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 2:43pm

    Kim Henson They do work, Joel Carter. I'm so grateful you've continued to brighten and lighten up FB with your photography. It's a wonderful gift for all of us. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · October 15 at 11:40pm

    Joel Carter Thank you
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:02am

    Jennifer Tinsman What a great article, Kim! I really enjoyed reading it as it speaks to my heart.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 11:12am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Jennifer Tinsman. ❤ I appreciate it.
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez Great article Kim!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 4 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks, Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez. ❤
    Like · Reply · 30 mins

  6. From Facebook (Frankie Barnhill Allen’s page) ~

    Lucy Sellers and 2 others

    Kim Henson Awe, Frankie Barnhill Allen. ❤ Thanks for your kind comment and for passing this along! I sure appreciate it.
    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 1:48am · Edited

    Lucy Sellers Thank you for this thought
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:15pm

  7. Good job, Kim Henson. My thoughts are very similar. I too have unfollowed and unfriended arrogant people who just know you must be crazy…. if you don’t see it their way. I’m not into making political comments. I just hope we all make the best decision for our United States. Troubling times for all of us. Keep up the good work 🙌

    • Connie, interesting you mentioned the word “arrogant.” I probably wouldn’t have noticed you wrote it except a friend told me she just figured out that she’s arrogant. So that’s what’s bothered me about her all these years. She helped me recognize how much I dislike arrogance.

      I hope we make the best decision also. I’m praying daily for our country. ❤ God bless us all! Thanks so much for your encouragement. Love you! ❤

  8. Kim, I look forward to getting my own life back as soon as this crazy election is over! I can’t do so until then. I am too much of a political junkie and too afraid of who might win! Take care and keep writing. I enjoy your blog. Deirdre 

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S® 6, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    • I sure understand, Deirdre. It’s taken up way too much of my time and I don’t even like politics. In fact, this is the first election I’ve ever gotten this involved. I usually read some background info, figure out where they stand on issues, and vote. This time around has been all consuming at times, but I was happy to get away from it and take an art class. Life may return to normal soon … maybe. 😀

      Thanks for reading and commenting! ❤

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