Monday, August 08, 2011

Respect. Diversity.

you know what's so strange? Well I guess not strange, but well.... amazing. The way that we are all a billion people going about our business every single day, but so many people, whether we cross paths with them or not, are doing completely different things? I don't mean like on a simple level, like you are a doctor, you are a policeman, you are a shop owner. This isn't Busytown I am envisioning. But seriously, the big picture.

Like you live in Some exotic locale and surf all day, and you live in some exotic locale and worry about where your next drink of water will come from, and you live right here in America and worry about national security, and you live right here in America and worry about road repairs, and you live right here in America and worry about being shot on your way to visit your grandkids, and I live in America and worry about having enough clean underwear. It's so bizarre, all of us being humans and all worrying about such different things. I think about animals. Are there cows living all over the world with all these different aspirations and worries? Hmmm. That might be a stretch.

It takes everything I have to make it through a day with two toddlers, worrying about raising them to respect people and raising them to be polite, and just plain RAISING THEM. And people often are perturbed that I don't know enough about the national debt, or the impact of clean water (or lack thereof) for people in far away countries, or the number of politicians in the senate and the house. And here I am struggling to get the laundry done, the tomatoes canned, the toys off the floor, and the kids taken care of. Nothing makes you feel more like an insignificant nothing... than thinking about all the people in this world, going about their own daily lives. It's overwhelming. It takes my breath away. And it makes me feel like a crazy person because I go to sleep wondering if that bag of freshly picked green beans will fill 7 pint sized jars or some odd number that's going to frustrate me when I can them tomorrow.

And sometimes, when I think of the sheer magnitude of the things that people accomplish out in this world, I think "What Am I DOING?!" What do I do with my days. Where do they go?

Raising my kids is the single most important thing on my agenda. Every. Single. Day. But there are scientists working on a cure for cancer. There are soldiers missing their own families to protect mine. There are actors providing entertainment, and artists decorating the world. There are chefs creating fabulous meals that wow everyone who tastes them and make our chicken noodle soup from a can and grilled cheese sandwiches look like a joke. There are people who aspire to go to the moon. And then there are people like me, who give baths and read stories and fold tiny pairs of underwear and match millions of miniature socks, and get drinks and snacks, and take walks and answer the 437 "why" questions that a four year old shouts out to us on a daily basis. Tonight I wonder how something SO incredibly important to me can seem so ridiculous in the scheme of things?

I then try to asses the situation and determine what exactly possessed me to grow up deciding that I wanted to be a mom. What made me so sure that the ONLY thing that mattered to me was having kids and raising them? The only answer that I can give, is that I don't want to be the one to cure cancer. I hope that there is that person out there that DOES, but honestly, it's just not my bag of tricks. I don't want to go to the moon. At all. Ever. I think we should leave the moon (and Mars and all it's salt water for that matter) alone. I don't think we have any business checking into another planet when we are about to destroy our own. But what do I know, I am just a housewife :)

But I realize that these people are doing these fantastic things, and doing fantastic job at them, because this is what they are DRIVEN to do. And I, fortunately or unfortunately, am driven to be a mom. I am driven to recycle like a maniac and pile cardboard to the sky as my husband looks on and shakes his head. I am driven to raise chickens and can food, and buy kid clothes at garage sale prices. I am driven to get my hands in the dirt and grow vegetables and water flowers, and pull weeds from around the inside of my little picket fence. I am driven to read bedtime stories and scrub dirty toes and brush rats out of a screaming 3 year old's curly hair. I am driven to try to make mom friends who aren't catty and judgmental of each other. I am driven to encourage others to believe what they want and stand up for themselves. I am driven to encourage others to agree to disagree and embrace the differences about our lives and love each other anyway.

I love my best friend who has been in the military her whole life. I love that what drives her, protects me. I love my best friend that protects wildflowers and trees and teaches me everything I could possibly need to know about being a responsible steward of the land and taking into account the impact my life has on our mother Earth. I love my friends who are interested in politics and can talk to me at my level and help me to see why decisions made are right or wrong. I love my friend who wants to go on mission trips to help people less fortunate, and my friend who wants to do AIDS research, and my friend who introduced me to the delicious cuisine of Morocco. I love my friend who is a fanatic Christian and my friend who is a fanatic agnostic. I love my friend whose excitement is her next Tattoo, and my friend who can cut hair like no one else I have ever seen. I love my friend who has an eye for photography unlike anyone I personally know. I love being fortunate to be friends with so many diverse, interesting, and DRIVEN People. Even if they are not always driven in the same direction as I am. ESPECIALLY if they are not driven in the same direction as I am. I don't aspire to hang out with a zillion people just like me. That is not my idea of a good time. I love diversity. I ADORE people who teach you something every time you talk to them.

I love the internet, and blogs, and Flickr, and YES, I LOVE FACEBOOK. Because I am able to be connected to all of these people in some tiny way. Because I need to be constantly reminded that while I am out here thinking about what's for supper (yet again) they are thinking about someone who won't get any supper, or they are worried about How many trees were killed to make the paper plate that I am going to eat off because I can't find the motivation to load the damn dishwasher.

I want to be reminded that someone out there is incredibly angry at the house of representatives for passing a bill that will directly affect their small business. I want to know that The price of gas went up five cents and the stock market had a bad day. Even if I am not going to run right out and picket the gas station, or change my stock options, or pack my bags for a mission trip, I really, really, really, need these friends to remind me that there is so much more going on in the world. And I really need these friends who respect what I am doing, what I believe in, and what I am DRIVEN to do. These friends, these people who are not judging me, who are not hating me, and who are understanding of what I do and what I believe in, and what I stand for.... they do not expect me to be a cookie cutout of them. They don't want me to be like them, they don't want me to do as they do, say as they say, and believe everything exactly as they believe. They respect and encourage open debates and conversations. We are keeping each other on our toes. We are exercising our minds and reveling in our differences. THIS is why I love the internet. It provides us a way to be connected to so many different people, in different places, in different walks of life. They teach me something new every day. They drive me to "google it" and learn about something that I never even considered before. Their passions make me ask questions. Their DRIVE makes me rethink things that I thought I was sure of. Friends have a way of giving you their viewpoint and making you think.

After a long day of saying "don't do that" and "don't touch that" and "sit down on your butt" and "keep your hands to yourself" and "please put that back where you found it" and "buckle your seatbelt" and "turn off the light" and "Use the soap" and "Is that your inside voice?" - The last thing I want is to tell other people what to think, what to do, what to believe. I have my own kids to practice that with.

So, for all you friends who agree to disagree, and all you friends who are driven to do different things with your lives, and who are passionate about causes that I know little to nothing about... just keep it coming. Keep me posted, keep my updated, keep me in the loop. Keep my mind fresh and keep my heart humble. And thanks for tolerating all the little things that make the hours fly by in this little house :) You are great friends, and yes, even great acquaintances. Keep encouraging me to see the other side of things. Keep lifting me up when I have a rough day. Keep reminding me that my rough day is someone else's walk in the park. Even if I don't see you often, or ever, you are important to me. Reading what you have to say... is important to me. Keep being driven in a different directions, because that is what enables me to keep driving in my direction.

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