“This is not a hill on which I choose to die.” I have heard my mother utter these words so many times during my life. My mom is a rather quiet and tiny woman…yeah…I’m shocked that I came from her sometimes as I could not be more her opposite: she is brunette, short, quiet, introverted, and I’ve never seen her run. I’m blonde, tall-ish, loud, extremely extroverted, and I crave physical activity all the time. I mis-interpreted her quietness and introvertedness for weakness for a long time. In fact, as my role-model for marriage, I believed that I could not marry because I could not be like her…during that time, I missed out on what I could have been learning from her because I was blinded by my own pride of what a “strong woman” looked like…it looked like me of course…loud and ready to fight with my voice for sure and with my fists if necessary.
Before the poisoning, my personality was quite a bit different than it is now. I was extreme in almost everything I did. I thought that if you landed in the middle on something (like my mother) then you had no opinion…that if you were moderate in anything, that you were wasting your options. I was a rather polarizing individual and it made people have to choose between loving me or hating me…which suited me fine at the time because then, I at least knew where I stood with everyone. (Refer back to my entry about being a habanero pepper before.) Now, I find myself avoiding the extremes (for the most part) and gravitating toward the middle…pursuing unity and love instead of “my ideals.” To be honest, this has been an unsettling transition for me because it means that I am going back and removing my foot from my mouth on many of my former stances…things that I espoused adamantly before, I am finding that I cringe at the thought of now…but I am developing a taste for shoe-leather since I am finding my foot in my mouth so often.
What I have come to love about the phrase my mom uses (This is not a hill on which I choose to die) is this: First, she chooses. She is not ushered onto a side through emotion and she is not manipulated into a stance she doesn’t believe in. She makes her choices and uses logic to arrive at them. She is not a hot-head that flies off the handle half-cocked and ends up eating crow (or in my case shoe leather) later. Secondly, this phrase does not indicate neutrality in everything…it indicates that there are hills on which she will plant her flag and stand her ground. The fighter in me loves this…there are times where we must fight against injustice and oppression…to do otherwise is to side with the oppressor (paraphrase from Desmond Tutu.) Lastly, this phrase indicates that some things are not only worth standing up for, they are worth dying for. This hits especially close to my heart right now with the tragedies going on in Gana, Nigeria, Iraq, Isreal, and Syria. Doing what is right is worth dying for. Being right is not.
The point of my rant this morning is that I think many of us (myself included) are getting sucked into pointless side-taking and are blinded to the areas that count. Instead of fighting about democrat or republican, red or blue, conservative or liberal…we should be fighting on behalf of humanity and justice. We should be guided by our logic and morality instead of getting into choosing sides against people because of our preferences. Make no mistake…there is a difference. We should absolutely be outraged by injustice. We should not be outraged by difference. “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need for one another.” –Desmond Tutu.
So, how are you doing with this? How often do you feel outraged about something? Is that something more often a difference in opinions or are you outraged over injustice? If you aren’t ever outraged, is there something that you are called to believe in but are shying away from? Are you choosing what your stance is or do you find yourself getting emotionally manipulated into your stance by culture? Is there a hill on which you would choose to die? If so, what are you doing to at least approach that hill? The hill will never be won if we don’t find our mission of taking it.
I am praying that we will all find our mission in life. That we will pursue life, love, and justice. That we will quit fighting amongst ourselves over unimportant things and quit allowing ourselves to be divided over the very differences that would make us stronger and better-equipped as a people. Much love friends.