When Acceptance and Hope Meet

In a previous post, I wrote about the racial diversity of Santa Fe.

But a different type of diversity encouraged me, humbled me and taught me to be more open to those around me.

Sculpture - Santa Fe children

A Sculpture of Reading Children             in Santa Fe, NM

During my week in Santa Fe, I met writers who were Jews, Buddhists, atheists, Shamans, Christians and a mixture of faiths including one presenter who labeled herself a Bu-Jew.

We laughed together, learned together and connected over bowls of green chile stew, creamy guacamole and quinoa power bowls.

Nobody pulled out a copy of the Four Spiritual Laws, tips from the Torah or quotations from Buddha.

We simply found common ground as writers, accepting each other’s differences while building relationships.

Since then, several of my new friends have followed me on Facebook, added their email addies to my newsletter and committed to my blog. I feel honored to have such a rich diversity of new friends.

After one stimulating lunch where several of us shared our love of everything Santa Fe, I walked back to my hotel room. My experience told me the same lunch with a group of Baptists, Methodists and/or free-spirited anointed charismatics would no doubt have resulted in arguments, confrontations and insistence on what the Apostle Paul meant in his numerous argumentative writings.

Yet that type of spiritual blasting did not happen with this diverse group. We simply began relationships built on our love of words.

Of course, I hoped the eternal Word was reflected in my speech, in my manner, in my acceptance of these dear creatives. And I believe that my future writings will make an impact, if for no other reason than curiosity to be explored.

But I understood more clearly than ever before the need to push away from our comfortable zones and wooden pews, to be involved and engaged with people from every faith walk – or no faith at all.

The scriptures call Christians to be salt and light. But too much salt gathered in one place makes for a bitter pot of soup.

Too much light blinds us to the realities of the needs around us – to those who believe differently yet are still vitally important to the God who reaches out to them.

I am more determined than ever before to use my words to embrace and engage rather than to confront. Although I love Jesus more than life itself, his example was to love all and remind the religious leaders how hypocrisy destroys.

How can we share hope with the world around us? By letting our hearts invite friendly debate, by refusing to consider ourselves as experts on every question, by building relationships just because we care for our fellow humans.

How can we best reflect the hope that drives us? By remembering the old campfire song and living it out: “They will know we are Christians by our love.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

If you are a caregiver already dreading the holidays, check out Holiday Tips for Caregivers – a practical guide for self-care during the stressful season.

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Hope Finds a Memory

monuments menOne of the Christmas gifts I gave my son was a DVD of the movie, “The Monuments Men.” The movie wasn’t popular with the critics, but we thought it was great – inspirational, historical and cast with several quality actors.

Besides the plot line and the suspense, the reason I enjoyed it so much was because we made a memory together.

My son took me to the movie. When your children start taking you to movies, you realize the role reversal has begun and your offspring are indeed becoming mature human beings.

But this wasn’t just any movie. This was the Fork and Screen Cinema where you sit in complete ecstasy in chairs designed for comfort. You order from a menu of culinary delights. It’s like a dining room merges with an entertainment system and you get to enjoy it without doing the dishes.

Since I wasn’t hungry, I only ordered from the dessert menu and thoroughly enjoyed a piece of raspberry cheesecake.

With the background music, the surround sound, George Clooney as a main character and an occasional bite of cheesecake, my afternoon was complete. Plus, my beloved son sat beside me enjoying our time together.

And did I mention – watching George Clooney in living color?

When I clapped after the movie ended, it wasn’t only for the great acting, the cinematography and the feel-good ending.

I was also applauding my grown son and what a good man he has become.

As a reminder for my son, I bought the DVD and wrapped it with the hope that during some icy snowed-in day this winter, we might watch it again – to relive that historical era when a group of brave men returned art objects the Nazis stole from the Jews.

I found hope in the action of a son who experienced joy spending an afternoon with his mom, so I conclude this post with a reminder to my readers:

Sons, spend some time with your mothers this year. And mothers, treasure the memories made with your sons.

©2014 RJ Thesman – author of the Reverend G books – http://amzn.to/1rXlCyh