I Don’t Know How


I don’t know how to disagree with people I love. I wish I could agree with everyone. It would make life so much easier. But that is not what life is about, is it? Life is complicated and messy and somehow beautiful and I just wish I could stop trying to please everyone.

One of my problems is that I feel very passionately about certain things and people think that because of this, I haven’t also thought through my positions – that I’m going entirely on emotion. Yes, I do have a great deal of emotion, but goodness knows it does make me sort of irritated that this is what people see of me and dismiss that I have a brain as well.

Yet, posting facts to back up an argument, statistics and expert opinion, and evidence, just seems cold and really useless. Because, the thing is that people make up their minds about subjects and then hold fast, immovably, to those opinions (including statistics and facts and evidence)(It is really pretty vexing that everyone’s ideas seem to find evidence to back them up, so that if we go purely by statistics, everyone is right and how can that be?) and they never, ever change. Except me. I am starting to wonder if there is something wrong with me.

I used to be very solidly of one opinion about things in life. I had my opinions neatly cordoned off to fit well within what was expected of me, so that I didn’t ruffle feathers or bother any of the people I regularly associated with.

Then, I joined the Army, saw the world, met all sorts of strange people (and saw that they were awesome), had a child who was born disabled, lost my precious child, and somehow, I don’t care that people expect me to think a certain way because even though their disapproval pains me, I cannot be convinced I am wrong.

AND, I believe that all of this change that has come over me is a result of my trying to carefully listen to and follow God. It’s where he’s led me (though I didn’t want to go and he had to drag me kicking and screaming) and I have no choice. He has convinced me that I am where he wants me to be.

So, though I have peace with God, I still keep ticking people off and I still have this horrible, horrible craving to NOT do that. I hate confrontation more than I hate onions, dancing shows, getting lost or floral prints. I hate it more than I hate just about anything.

What I really wish is that I didn’t care what people thought. But, I do and there’s the rub. I don’t know how to reconcile my passions, my strong convictions, with other peoples’ varying passions and convictions. I was raised where a difference of opinion often resulted in scary things happening. The last thing I ever want is for people to get upset with me or others. I have had enough of that in my life.

So, perhaps I should bury my head in the sand and try not to see what is happening in the world. But, I can’t do that either. So here is what I have to do. I have to take the risk. I have to express my deep convictions — convictions that I feel have been arrived at through reason, lots of thought, and yes, passion.

I hope my friends know that I love them, even if they disagree. I also hope they understand that I just can’t argue. It’s not in me and when confronted, I will often just shut down. That is a fear response, it’s automatic and I can’t control it very well. I pray someday I will learn how to discuss controversial subjects. But, for now, I really don’t know how.

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