Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Respect and growing up

My brother is a minister. Now, before you go rolling your eyes and making assumptions, I'll say that he certainly comes from that whole 'non-judgmental,' we truly want to help mindset of Christians. He and I were both raised to love everyone, to give to others, to be there with counsel and support when asked. He and I, however, don't always see eye-to-eye politically.

This isn't going to be a long diatribe about the Health Care Reform bill being passed, because I'm sure many of you are like me and are vastly exhausted at hearing the complaints and debate about this very sensitive topic.

This post is merely about respect. You see, though I love my brother and though I can honestly say he is the solitary person in my entire life that has never, ever disappointed me or let me down, he is, like me, very stubborn. When he believes something, it is with every fiber of his nature. He is passionate and sincere and fiercely loyal. But again, we don't discuss politics. We can't. Our opinions differ too much. But what I learned today after texting and tweeting back and forth with him over this Health Care issue, is that, remarkably, we have changed.

It wasn't long ago that we couldn't discuss anything political without either of us getting worked up because we both believe in our confictions passionately. Yet today we let each other voice opinions. We listed facts, we gave each other the space and platform to speak our minds.

It was miraculous. Lord above, have we grown up? Surely not!

The fact is, when you love someone or even remotely care about them, the necessity to let them be the people they are, surfaces. You cannot change anyone. You cannot enforce your ideals down someone's throat. You cannot insinuate your beliefs into someone and still let them be an individual. Relationships, even sibling relationships, need to be fostered over time. They need to be nurtured and coddled so that both parties are allowed to spread their respective wings.

That line of thinking can also reflect what makes us a great nation. This idea that we can argue, have varying opinions, protest and march and rage against injustice without ramifications is a blessing. It's a freedom we are given, innately, when we become a citizen.

Citizenship is like a good relationship: it is something that none of us really know how to manage when we're young. We fight and argue or blatantly ignore what is given to us until a time when we grow, when we mature, when things begin to matter.

Respect is essential in each. If you don't voice your opinion, if you don't vote, if you don't try to heal rifts or mend broken hearts, then you don't deserve either. Being a good sister, a good wife, a good mother are things I desire most. Being a good citizen, is something that I strive to do everyday. It isn't easy, but then what in life is?

The point is to take your relationship (with your significant other, with your family or friends OR with your country), and embrace it. Let it grow, let it evolve. If you do none of these things, then you fester in your journey for happiness. If you are complacent in that journey, then it because ridiculously arduous when it really needn't be.

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