Stand For Something Instead of Against Everything

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“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” Mother Teresa

Watching friends stand against a candidate drove me a little crazy by the end of the 2017 presidential election. Too many friends were campaigning and voting against a person instead of for one. I understood the dilemma, but tearing down the other candidate, as well as the people voting for him or her, didn’t stand a chance of helping their person win.

“Anti” is divisive. Take a look at its synonyms from Thesaurus.com: contradictory, contrary, irreconcilable, negating, antagonistic. On the flipside, its antonyms include harmonious, equal, confirming, consistent, and reconciled.

Posts, memes, and comments standing against something bother me even when I agree. I’m anti-racist. However, when friends put this announcement across their profile pictures or lecture about it on social media, it seems they’re stirring a pot instead of practicing and setting an example of tolerance. Their anti-isms smack with arrogance instead of acceptance.

This reminds me of the white woman who came to our faculty meeting for an afternoon of race relations training. She seemed professional and qualified enough until teachers questioned her ideal solutions that work in textbooks, but not in a classroom. She sneered, argued, and put down those who didn’t agree with her. She turned out to be prejudiced against anyone she decided wasn’t open-minded like her. It was strange to watch her act out what she preached against – intolerance, conflict, and supremacy.

Around conflicted people like her, I end up feeling defensive and confused. I’m pretty certain others do too since teachers in that meeting became aggressive and upset just like I see friends do on Facebook and Twitter when people preach love, but don’t stand for it.

I think this happens because it’s easier to preach anti-racism than to practice loving everyone. It’s easier for a friend to talk anti-abortion rhetoric than to listen to a mutual friend who regrets having one. It’s simpler to quote a Bible verse we’re convinced means God stands against homosexuality than to address whether or not we stand against it.

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We blame a lot on political correctness, but I’m not so sure the problem isn’t that we’re turning into people who too often “stand against” to avoid the work it takes to stand together. We’re “anti” instead of finding something to stand for and making it happen. It’s easier to be bitter than better. We’re too lazy to do much except protest verbally or carry a sign.

One of the most disturbing posts I’ve read on Facebook wasn’t about politics, but the school pickup line. A mom attacked (in writing) three early-arriving parents that she noticed sitting at the head of the line when she rode by the school while running errands. She wrote that their early arrival created children who will likely end up feeling entitled and, as a result, bully other students. What? Where’d that come from?

She admitted to not knowing these early-arriving parents or their kids, but still she stood against them.

Her post and her assumptions sounded bizarre to me, but she drew a crowd of Facebook friends who agreed that parents who consistently pick up their children early were overly attentive, coddling parents that raised spoiled brats who were likely to pick on others – her friends actually wrote this stuff. A father who knew the accusatory mom called timeout, but that didn’t stop her or what snowballed on her page – a whole lot of people standing against something ridiculous. I mean, we’ll fall for anything, won’t we?

The power of standing for something dawned on me when a friend ran for a public office and asked if she could run her ideas by me. She planned to stand against the two controversial motorcycle rallies held in Myrtle Beach every May – controversial because the beach is overrun with bikes for most of the month and safety and enjoyment for residents and other visitors become an issue. I said, “I’d choose to stand for something instead of against motorcycles.”

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I’d recently read an article on the topic of “standing for,” which was the reason I thought the advice might be helpful. As it turned out, she nearly won the election as an unknown and an unlikely candidate. I believe it’s because she ran on a positive platform, “Bring back the month of May.”

It’s the same as Mother Teresa said, invite me when you’re planning to do something for the good of people, not when you’re fighting against them.

I’m drawn to people and posts that rally around making a contribution rather than ones that breed contempt. However, I’m more stirred by the latter and more tempted to react, a trait I don’t like about myself. I want the opposite, which means following our minister Chuck Murphy’s lead. He says, “Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle.”

My problem is, the lazy drama queen on the opposite shoulder from my Jiminy Cricket (my conscience) says, “Let’s stand against the people spreading darkness. We’ll complain about and judge them. That way, we’ll feel better about ourselves because, after all, we’re not like them.”

And then one day, we all look the same … standing against causes and statues and each other.

What I loved about Martin Luther King Jr. is he didn’t work from a grudge, but from grace. I’ve read dozens of his quotes, as well as Mother Teresa’s, and I haven’t found one that stands against anything. These two offer guidance, not guilt. Gratitude instead of griping. Graciousness instead grief. They said things like, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear” and “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

I was first attracted to Glennon Doyal Melton, the popular Momastery blogger and author who wrote Love Warrior, because she loved fiercely. That was, until she took a political stand last year. Now it seems she stands against pretty much everything. She calls people together to stand against something – at least, that how it appears from here.

I wondered if I was standing against her because her life doesn’t look like mine anymore. She announced a year or so ago that she’s gay and in May, she married her wife. I didn’t figure out what bothered me about her until I heard from Ellen DeGeneres who has a similar lifestyle as Glennon’s. Ellen finally stood against something when she said on her show, “You know what really irks me?”

My heart sank, but I listened anyway. I’d admired her for not participating in negativity and for not getting caught up in and using her influence in a fight she could easily join. I was relieved her “irk” wasn’t some politically charged rant, but people who don’t return their shopping carts to the right place.

Ellen stands for instead of against until it comes to courtesy in the grocery store parking lot. I can deal with that. She’s proof that “standing for” is not about a lifestyle, but an attitude. She’s not a warrior, but a winner. She’s not about fighting against things, but finding the good she can do and doing it.

I’m all for fighting when it’ll do some good, but mostly I find I’m more effective (and so is everyone I’ve observed) when I find something to stand for and walk in that direction.

Are you fighting against things and maybe getting frustrated because of it? Or are you standing up for something that’ll make life worth walking through?

#gettingyourownlife #whilelovingthepeopleinit

In This Together,
Kim

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5 responses »

  1. Personally, I don’t care about the antis or the fors. Same song, different verse. It’s been playing since the 60s and I am sick of it.

    People who are still acting out should go to DC and visit The Wall. Maybe the ghosts they see, standing behind their reflections, will make them think. And maybe those antiwar idiots will realize that they condemned people far better than themselves to an oblivion of condescension.

    While Hanoi Jane Fonda made millions.

    My advice is this. You want to make a difference today, go to your local pound and adopt a dog who’s about to be killed because no one wanted him or her.

    Give that animal all the love in your heart, and you will find out why God is merely Dog spelled backwards.

    I am dying, and I am just so tired of manufactured emotion.

    Dear protesters – go save a life, or SHUT UP.

    Kim,please excuse the vitriol. I;m just real tired of pain, and of trying to get Social Security Disability – four years now, and try living THAT long with pancreatic cancer – while the government’s paying for gender reassignment treatment and surgery. The message I get is that I’m worthless.

    So I get to bite back.

    • I get it, Andrew. If I were braver or as tired as I’m sure you are, some of my posts would sound like this one. You’re right about the dog thing. I adopted Hannah. Her name means grace of God and she’s lived up to it. She cost us $3,000 because she had two fractured hips even though the Humane Society said a broken leg that was on the mend. Oops, they got that one wrong. She’s the most expensive rescue I know. They said we could return her. We said, “Yeah, right!”

      She’s paid us back more than we ever spent on her, so you’re on target … adopt a dog, visit The Wall, volunteer somewhere, thank a vet, but please stop with the anti-crap. It’s tiring and useless.

      I’m saying a prayer for you!

  2. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Mary Lancaster, Barbara Barksdale and 29 others

    6 shares

    Debbie Johnson I agreed with this! ❤
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 3:12am

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Debbie Johnson. ❤
    Like · Reply · August 30 at 11:53pm

    Maria Franken love this one! ❤
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 7:56am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Maria Franken! ❤ I write this stuff because I need to be reminded. 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 11:55pm

    Peggy New Excellent
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 9:05am

    Kim Henson Thanks bunches, Peggy New … and for what you shared on my page. ❤
    Like · Reply · August 30 at 11:56pm

    Delilah Lewis I agree Kim Henson
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 2:06pm

    Kim Henson Thank so much, Delilah Lewis. ❤
    Like · Reply · August 30 at 11:56pm

    Christy Young Kim Henson, this may be my favorite that you have written. It really causes self examination on many levels. Loved it.
    Love · Reply · 2 · August 30 at 6:40pm

    Kim Henson I appreciate it, Christy Young. ❤ It really made me think about my own attitude as I wrote it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 11:58pm

    Mary Lancaster Amen
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 7:14pm

    Kim Henson Thanks a lot, Mary Lancaster! ❤
    Like · Reply · September 1 at 10:50am

    Debbie Yarborough Coats Walters Amen Kim Henson!
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 30 at 9:05pm

    Kim Henson Debbie Yarborough Coats Walters, thank you! ❤
    Like · Reply · August 30 at 11:58pm

    Agnes Roberts Spurlock Great post, Kim. Just realized need to sign up with my new email. Old agetimers!!😄
    Love · Reply · 1 · August 31 at 1:51pm

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Agnes Roberts Spurlock. I sure understand about old agetimers. 🤣 I signed up for yours and received a couple of notifications and caught up with you that way, but then they stopped??? Maybe you haven't written since then, but I need to check. I don't trust technology. 😎
    Like · Reply · September 1 at 12:35am

    Barbara Barksdale If only people thought the same as us Kim, but its unbelievable what is happening. I'm standing my own ground and beliefs but am so sad where all these anti….people are coming from. 😥😥😪😭
    Love · Reply · 2 · September 1 at 10:53am

    Kim Henson It makes me sad too, Barbara Barksdale. i have friends who I love dearly, but they have one campaign after another AGAINST something, so it's hard to be around them. It's easy to be negative, so I get it … but I do try not to give into the negativity and just woller in it for weeks, months, even years. 😉 Goodness!
    Like · Reply · 1 · September 3 at 1:53am · Edited

    Lyn Snyder A wonderful read💕💞 . I catch myself thinking of negative stuff instead of what GOD wants from me. I stand for something, trying to see the face of JESUS in everyone. I fail miserably but I do try. Thanks Kim for being who you are. I love you🙏🙏❤️
    Love · Reply · 1 · September 1 at 11:16am

    Kim Henson Awe, thank you, Lyn Snyder. I love you! I'm so happy we're friends! ❤ I fail miserably too, but writing about it here keeps me more on track, more accountable, and more likely to do the right things instead of just whining and complaining. I so want to light a candle. 🕯️ You're leaving a wonderful legacy of love and caring.
    Like · Reply · September 3 at 1:59am

  3. Kim, I am trying desperately to stand for love and tolerance. That is very difficult, and sometimes I have to stay away from social media for a time because of the negativity and lack of civility from people on all sides. When I believe in something, I tend to just work quietly for it and not talk about it. Maybe that’s more dangerous than shouting against things and people. I also try to do as much good for others as I can, whether we agree politically or not. Political agreement has seemed less and less important in the wake of Rich’s death. I keep the picture in my head of the family gathering after Rich’s memorial service: at the same table were complete political opposites, a gay niece and nephew with their spouses and children, and Rich’s 90-year old aunt, who endured a 12-hour car ride so she could say goodbye to her nephew. Nobody gave a damn about what anybody was against. We all just stood together to honor someone we loved. I want to see more of that in the world. Thanks for continuing to shed light on important issues and making us think.

    • Mary, it’s so true that when the important things come along like birth and illness and death, we wonder why politics and being right ever mattered in the first place. I love the idea of standing for instead of against. The irony is sometimes I want to stand against someone who stands against everything, which reminds me of a quote I heard years ago, “Don’t become a monster while fighting monsters.” The latter can happen before we know it.

      I believe quietly working for what you believe in is admirable just like it says in one of my favorite verses (1 Thessalonians 4:11), “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” I absolutely love this advice and try my best to remember it when I’m about to get mouthy and opinionated. 🙂

      I know you have helped many with your Facebook and blog posts to know they’re not alone in their caregiving frustrations. Thanks for staying in touch here and on Facebook! ❤

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