I'm going to tell you up front: stick with me. It's a winding path to a point, but I will, eventually, make my point.
Lately, food hasn't sounded the greatest to me. I force myself to eat, and whatever I can tolerate. Not that food makes me ill or nauseated (anymore) but nothing sounds appetizing. Nothing sounds good. Nothing. My favorites are repulsive most times, and my go-tos are now my run-froms. Tonight, after my family ate their dinner while I sat alone, away from them and the smell of their food, I knew I had to force myself to eat something. Yogurt with grape-nuts sounded tolerable. As I made my way to the kitchen, however, and saw our ever-ripening bananas on the counter, I thought I should make a fruit smoothie.
I opened the fridge to retrieve our milk. It was nearly empty. This is bad. Very bad. Every morning, I have to have at least one, ice-cold, glass of milk. If I don't, everything is wrong with the world. It's the only must-have I need in this pregnancy. Ice-cold milk in the morning. If I used the last of it now, for a fruit smoothie that finally sounded really good while scrounging for what to eat along with it, I wouldn't have my milk in the morning. Holding the gallon container, I peeked into the living room where Brent was sitting.
I put on my best "pretty please?" face and asked, "Babe? How much do you love me right now?" He looked over, saw me holding the milk carton, and let out a sigh. Moments later he had his shoes, coat, and hat on, and ventured out in to the freezing (well below-zero) snow and cold to get another gallon of milk. Because he loves me that much. And as I poured the milk into our blender, my heart swelled once again because I married a man I don't deserve. I married a man who treks out in the snow to buy his wife, who can't bring herself to even cook for him these days, a gallon of milk. And he will also be putting gas in the car for me. Be honest with yourself right now, and let your heart swoon a little for this man. But not too much, because he is spoken for, after all.
Now, Brent and I don't always see eye-to-eye on everything. Sometimes we disagree amicably and sometimes we disagree vehemently. (Those times are called "intense fellowship".) We've been together nearly thirteen years and while there are issues we've been able to meet in the middle on, there are some neither of us will give up ground for. And this is my husband, whom I love with every piece of me, and who goes out in the freezing cold for no reason other than to buy his wife milk and put gas in her car. I mean for that alone I should just agree with him whatever the case, right? But I don't. And even though I don't agree with him on some issues, he loves me anyway. In spite of our differences.
I have friends (whoa, shocker, but some people actually like me) who differ from me in almost every possible way you can imagine. Political views. Religious views. Humanitarian views. Child-rearing. Work-ethic. Etcetera. But get a load of this - we're still friends. Because their views differing from mine don't define who I am. They don't cancel out my faith or opinions. Their differing views don't counter the fact that they are beautiful people who I'm always thrilled to spend time with. I can have tremendous differences, and still be in a compatible, enjoyable relationship with them. I love these people. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say they like me at least a little bit.
You see where this is going. And I'm not going to sit here and say, "I don't care what you believe...." because the reality is, I do. I do care. And I pray and hold out hope that everyone would come to know Jesus as Lord, life is precious, mushrooms are disgusting, and Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback to ever live. But you know what? If you don't, and if you adamantly disagree with me on any or all of those points, I'm not going to degrade you as a person. I'm not going to call you a bigot or a hypocrite or a scumbag or any sort of name at all. I'm not going to yell. I'm not going to insult you. I'm not even going to verbally scoff in disbelief that you could possibly have a different set of beliefs or morals than I do. I might raise my eyebrows - but I can't help that. Sometimes, I wear my thoughts on my face. Forgive me. At the end of the day, though, you're an individual, and so am I. And the very fact that seems to have torn the world apart in some instances, is also the very fact that can mend it together in an instant.
I'm not going to tell a diesel mechanic how to fix a vehicle. I don't know anything about it, nor have I ever been a diesel mechanic. I'm not going to tell a drug addict how they can kick their habit. I've never been addicted to drugs, and I know not of what I'd speak. That said, I don't understand why those who aren't, or never have been Christians, feel it necessary or even acceptable to tell Christians how they should act, feel, believe, and live. It doesn't make an ounce of sense to me.
Regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your political views, personal background, or even your love of mushrooms - I'm not here to draw attention to any of it. I'm not here to call you out on any of it. I'm not here to tell you you're wrong. So please give me, and others, that same respect. Agree to disagree. If you can't conduct yourselves maturely and feel the need to arguably defend your positions in life by throwing others under the bus of "you're an idiot because you don't see things the way I do", then I can't be your friend. Which is okay, because if that's how you behave, you won't have much fun being my friend anyway.
Now that I've given my little sermon, I'm going to go have a bowl of cereal with the fresh milk Brent brought back from the edge of civilization. And on the off-chance you disagree that a bowl of cereal is a good choice for my dinner, I'm just going to say: love me anyway. If you can't love me, respect the fact that you and I are both adults, capable of forming our own opinions, and just shake your head in disbelief. It is possible to protest with politeness.