~ Reconciling Our Irreconcilable Differences ~
I remember watching Lucy walk over to Ethel’s apartment to borrow a cup of sugar. And visa versa.
I remember when DJ Tanner talked on the phone with Kimmy Gibbler.
I remember playing baseball in the street.
I remember when neighbors actually spoke to one another.
I remember when a new family moved into the neighborhood, the locals would trek across their lawns, ring the doorbell, introduce themselves, welcome the newest residents, and drop off some baked goodies - whether it be a loaf of bread, or a plate of cookies. And it actually didn’t matter what form of food the calories were melded into, what mattered was the act of the offering.
And that was it.
They were now neighbors.
And - They were friends.
It didn’t matter who was a republican and who was a democrat.
And, all the politics in the world... wouldn’t stop a neighbor from helping a neighbor in need.
Someone would always be there to shovel the snow for the people nearby them.
Someone would always have time, or desire, to organize that infamous summer block party.
And at Christmas time, there’d always be that neighbor who wanted to host a cookie exchange - or even - set up matching light-up plastic soldiers lining the entire block.
But does any of that matter anymore?
Does anybody still do any of these things?
Do you even talk with your neighbors?
But I do know it's becoming increasingly rare. With our phones in our hands, and our heads bent down, we can’t even see our neighbors, let alone talk with them, through that black and desolate screen.
So, over time, with less one-on-one communication, we have now ended up in the situation we currently find ourselves: Anger. Hate. Violence. Incivility. And worse.
And, no I’m not blaming the smart phone for all our worldly problems.
I’m blaming us.
WE - are bigger than a phone. WE - are bigger than the internet. WE - are bigger than social media.
But - WE - have forgotten all this.
In this crazy covid world, we have forgotten that humanity is more important than how many likes we get. That communication isn’t just one directional. And that the world isn’t one size fits all.
We have even forgotten how to speak simply with one another. And how to speak civilly with one another.
And without communication with another - we are no longer unified.
Why does a couple, or a union, divorce? Separate, or break up? Why does a relationship end?
Is it because they no longer love one another? They can no longer agree? They’re not on the same page? They have different aspirations and life goals? They feel anger and hostility toward each other? They cannot even communicate with each other any longer? They are disgusted with one another and cannot stand the sight of the other? Maybe, maybe all of the above… but maybe it’s the simple fact that they no longer want to share a life together. After all, love cannot be forced.
So, what happens when we, as a nation, no longer agree with another?
What happens when we no longer love our neighbors?
When we cannot agree on the definition of words?
We are basically speaking different languages at that point, right?
Speaking different languages is not always a problem. There are people who speak different languages all over the world, and they all don’t disagree with and hate one another.
It’s the actions one takes that lead to agreement or disagreement. Civility or incivility. A smile and a handshake go a long way, especially if two people standing before each other do not understand the words coming out of their mouths.
But what happens when two people who do speak the same langage stand before each other, attempting communication, and one word means something to one of them, and the same word then means something else - something completely different - to the other? The meaning being contradictory, the opposite of intention… leading to anger, or violence over perceived meaning?
Are we in the denial phase of breaking up our relationship in this country right now?
I don’t know… maybe we are well past denial at this point. Maybe we’re well engulfed in the anger phase by now?
Yes, that must be it. Because all I see is anger and hostility - on the news anyway.
In real life, it’s a completely different story.
In real life, I see the sun rise. I see people walking on the beach… passing each other and smiling. I see myself shopping in the grocery store. And real people being real nice to one another.
I even still see neighbors helping neighbors.
Could it be that the news and media paints a different picture of real life? Are we in denial of what’s really happening, or is what’s really happening just happening differently in different locales? Is one person’s perception of the same matter differently perceived by the other? Can we even wrap our heads around that question? Yes, maybe that’s it. What’s happening online really is happening, but some people can’t see it? And maybe some people see the same thing but completely differently.
Who knows? But, either way, I still see us falling.
My perception is I see the country falling apart. As some are still baking cookies for one another, others are beating people in the streets. Bloody and bruised. Chocolate chips and cinnamon rolls. Hatred and anger. Lemonade stands and block parties. Fires and bear spray.
And, due to all this disagreement we have with each other - Is it time we broke up with one another?
No. I argue, No.
It’s not time.
We have a long road ahead. With each other.
Side by side.
Agree and disagree.
We should not divorce.
We have reconcilable differences.
We have differences - yes. But they are NOT irreconcilable.
In any good, healthy, solid, and long term relationship - continuous work is required.
We have work to do, indeed.
But, that work must be together. Not apart. Not separate. Not under disunion. Not under false pretence. And not under a guise of fake mediation.
We MUST work hard at living as good neighbors to one another. We MUST be civil. We MUST be noble. And true. And kind. And do it all for nothing in return. When did everything become about what you will get out of it? When did actions become simply about the reaction? And nothing more? After all, every time Lucy borrowed a cup of sugar, did she ever repay it?
When did we start not dropping off a plate of cookies when a new neighbor moved in next door? Expecting nothing in return, except maybe a smile. A handshake. An introduction. A civil conversation?
A long, long time ago, I guess.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. These cookies... they don't have to be homemade. They don’t have to be the fancy recipe straight from your Grandma’s kitchen. They don’t have to be gourmet.
These cookies could be a plastic box of store-bought chocolate chip cookies, sealed with a bar code and priced at $3.99 for a box of twelve from the Publix down the road.
But, here’s an even bigger secret. You don’t even need to bring cookies with you. You just need to say hello.
No, you see - It’s not the cookies we have forgotten, and it’s not that we cannot afford $3.99 with endless bills to pay, with worries over rent and healthcare. It’s the act of walking next door that we have truly and utterly and sadly forgotten and completely eliminated from our lives. The act of crossing the lawn, getting shoes wet from the morning dew on the blades of cut grass. Walking up the front lawn, climbing the porch, and ringing that gosh darn effing door bell - with good intention in our heart.
Cookies not included.
Cookies not needed.
Just a Hello.
Just a Welcome to the neighborhood.
We have definitely forgotten this simple act.
And who am I to even write about it? I have forgotten it too. Well, I haven’t forgotten. I do THINK of it when someone new moves in. But that’s about it. I THINK. I don’t ACT on it. After all, who has time for all that, right?
I’m the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I am living my very best life. But I am NOT partaking in dropping cookies at people’s doorsteps. And maybe that’s where this whole thing has gone wrong. Right freaking there.
I am truly happy. Extremely happy. Immensely happy. I am busy. I work hard. I love my family and friends. But when’s the last time I welcomed a new neighbor? I have no freaking idea.
I must give myself some credit though where credit is due. This Christmas, my husband and I made hundreds of cookies - piles and piles of cookies. The proof is on my Youtube Channel if you don’t believe me. And I did deliver cookies to neighbors and strangers alike. But this is simply one small act.
And today, I made a double batch of cookies for work tomorrow. A coworker's last day. For a ‘party’ and for my best wishes to send this person onto their next adventure in life.
One other small act.
These little acts. They do add up. They become our life. And our lives. If we are not interacting with one another regularly, in real life, then how can we have a civil relationship with each other in real life?
We need to say hello. We need to get to know one another. We need to have a relationship, other than by our avatars and screen names. Outside of the computers and not reflected through our phone screens. Let’s toss aside our usernames, and use our real freaking names.
So, is it time we broke up? Should we be getting a divorce?
I still say NO.
Now is not the time to call it quits.
We have still but a fleeting moment.
Not even now, as cities burn once again. Not even now, as the world seemingly readies itself for another war. Not even now, as more death engulfs the world. Not even now, as Evil reigns. And Evil thinks it’s winning. The flames having the upper hand. With fireworks in the night sky, and the Devil staring straight at us front and center. World War III on the horizon.
We can still work this out.
And we can stave off a civil war. But, we must heed the warning signs.
We can find the reconcilable parts of our hearts. And join together once again. As one nation, undivided.
And then we can have a simple block party. Hot dogs and beers all around. Slip, sliding away. Party in the USA. Everyone’s invited - Kimmy Gibbler included. And cookies are not required.~
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