Walking the fence

Walking the fence

I grew up surrounded by Republicans.

As we baled hay in the fields and made pies in the kitchen it was Rush Limbaugh blaring on the radio between farm reports. I was surrounded with suspicion about Clinton and rumors and scandal.

I also had this idea of my mom as the rebel Democrat… secretly keeping her views to herself… it sparked my curiosity… I don’t know if I was right, but that was always my impression of her political views.  I’m baking cookies with her tomorrow and I’ll have to ask.

I wasn’t quite sure what to think… but I listened, and loved my family, and didn’t let politics get in the way.

I headed off to college and found myself entrenched with the Democrats. Actually, many of them farther left than democrats. I began to care about different issues, found my voice, and struggled with how to engage those with whom I disagreed.

But I have always been a fence walker.  Whether I myself leaned one way or the other, I felt like my role was to navigate the space in between.

In college, that was the space between my more conservative friends of faith and my more liberal friends of action.  I hung out, freely and comfortably, with both.

In seminary, it was the space between young and old… between an LGBT community and a church that wasn’t quite sure what it meant for them to belong… between lay and clergy.

In ministry, it was bring folks to the table of different sides and trying to distance my own personal beliefs so that I never closed off myself to others because of my opinion.

I have always been a good listener.  I see multiple view points.  I understand how and why people disagree… only I cannot understand why they do it so vehemently.  10 days after an election, I watch those who gloat and those who mourn. And what I really want to do is round them all up in a room and have them talk about what their hopes are… because they might see that they are not so different.

And there really is not so much difference between your view point and mine.  Pragmatically, we’d probably do the same thing in a given situation.  We just emphasize different parts and set different priorities.  That is okay. We can still be friends. We can still be family.  We can still worship together.

I’m standing right here… in the middle… not because my heart is here – but because this is where I can best meet you.  And when I think of it that way… that is where my heart had been all along.

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