In fifth grade my friend, J, and I did one of the lowest things that we could do to a friend, and it was my idea. Our mutual friend, K, was obsessed with the most popular boy in school, and neither J nor I approved of her liking him mostly because it meant that she would leave our group to go join his fan club. To remedy the situation, I devised a horrible plan that would ensure K returning to J and I. We wrote a note (in what we decided was boy handwriting) that went something like this: “K, I know that you like me and I want you to stop. I will never like you, and don’t want you to like me.” We signed it with the boy’s name at the bottom, and I slipped it in her desk, after J decided she didn’t want any part of it. Later, when we all gathered for the final recess, instead of the devastation that I was planning on chasing away from K’s face, there was suspicion and hurt. She stormed over to J and I and demanded to know which of us had written it. She had confronted the boy and he had let her know that he definitely didn’t write it. I had been found out. Instead of gaining back one friend that day, I lost two.

So why am I telling you this? Not a clue, except it was the first thing that popped into my head when contemplating how to write this post. Adding my voice to the millions out there already singing conflicting melodies has been on my mind lately– but I decided to go kind of a different route.

Many minorities and perceived minorities are feeling threatened all the while feeling more empowered today. Their voices are finally being heard, but there are still huge prejudices and obstacles in the way of them gaining the freedoms and privileges that they feel are not granted them. The opposing parties are feeling threatened, and in return push harder against the change, hoping against hope to retain their ground. Fear is abundant on all sides, and as those of us who are educated in the ways of George Lucas knows that “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Fear is driving neighbors to specifically target fellow neighbors if their views do not align. Respect for fellowmen is virtually erased if their choices and beliefs do not coincide, and it needs to stop.

In our pursuit of freedoms, we should never persecute other’s beliefs. In our quest for protection, we should never condemn those who also need protecting. In our journey of acceptance, we should never chase away those still striving for the safety of what has already been accepted. We are all hurting, all sinning, all shouting. But more importantly, we are all hoping.

Hoping this world will still be one that we want and will be able to to raise a family in tomorrow. Hoping the values that are still essential to us individually will still have a place in society. Hoping leaders will lead with the words of truth on their tongue carried by the voice of the people. And hoping above all To Be Loved.

Love does not mean you have to agree, but it does mean that even when you disagree, you will still be there for each other. Love does not mean giving up or giving in, but it does mean giving our time. It does mean when one is hurting, we hurt together and rise together. It does mean when one needs help, we answer the call. And it doesn’t just mean one time. It means when we’re together, apart, mad, or joyful. It means no matter what, that we belong.


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