Vail Daily column: Living in a state between love and hate
As I have shared in the past, one of my very favorite things about writing this column is the interaction and communication with our communities. Many of those conversations or email exchanges inspire my thoughts and sometimes even provide great material for a future column. Such as this one.
These past few weeks I have received more negatively-charged emails than I can remember at any time throughout the past 10 years. The negativity was not so much pointed at me, but rather about the current state of life, politics, terrorism, national anthem protests, and the growing chasm between our communities and our police departments. And by the way, although we all recognize there is work to be done and improvements that can be made within our police departments and processes, a big shout out to anyone who wears the uniform and has worn the uniform — you are greatly appreciated and deeply respected.
The negative question contained in one email was this, “So what do you hate more, the insanity of the presidential election and our sorry choice of candidates or the Colin Kaepernick-driven national anthem protest?”
Another reader called me out and asked me if I was ever going to take a stand or share my beliefs or opinions on some of these “harder than life issues,” as he called them. And there have been several others that carried a similar message that have been born out of frustration, lack of clear information, and opposing belief systems on both a grand and small scale.
Without side-stepping the questions or avoiding declaring my position or belief on the above topics and other important issues, let me share my responses with you here.
As far as which do I hate more, I can honestly say neither. First of all, “hate” would not be my word choice. Disappointed, saddened, sick to my stomach, frustrated would all come well before “hate.” I cannot turn a blind eye to the massive shortfalls of both candidates, nor can I tell you that I don’t feel a gut-punch every time I see an athlete at any level kneel, sit or protest our national anthem. It’s the same feeling when the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer were challenged and taken away from our schools or when Christmas displays and celebrations on public property became directed by the minority instead of the majority.
And as for as taking a stand or sharing my beliefs, I am sure you understand those from my response in the above paragraph. I have heard it said that it is our differences that make the world go ‘round and that keep the earth spinning. I also grew up as an amusement park kid, where there were rides that continued to spin you around and around and around. Some were able to tolerate it regardless of how much spinning was going on and the velocity at which they were spun, the ride was fantastic for them. Others would either throw up on the ride or vomit as they walked weak-legged off of the ride.
So if it is our differences that make the world go ‘round, I am among the many who have emailed me and tolerating as much as I possibly can. Sick to my stomach? Yes. I just want the ride to stop, slow down and let me off before I do actually throw up.
Here is where I net this out for myself in our challenging times. Again, I don’t use the word “hate” because I still do believe we live in a world that is mostly filled with love. I believe we live in a world where the mistakes and agendas of the few are amplified so loudly that they seem to take center stage over the goodness, love, and grace that abounds in our communities. We are living in this state of being or state of mind that is centered right between love and hate as we are caught up in the chaos created by the decisions and actions of our past. And as we seek to break that cycle and we seek new change and as we come together to achieve both, the words I hope that we will use to replace “hate” and the words I hope we can live with and live by example with include; love and forgiveness, love and kindness and love and grace.
How about you? Are you living with that gut-punch feeling about any of the topics mentioned here? Or maybe there is something else that has your attention right now. And if you are feeling that gut-punch I hope that you can ease the pain or nauseas feeling by turning to grace. As always, thank you for your emails and I would love to hear from you this week at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can get our ahead around the fact that grace usurps hate every time, it will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.