pas·sion [pash-uhn] noun
(1) any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate; (2) a commitment to a belief that is so strong that no other is recognized as being a possibility.
Passion, that has become consuming, is the probably one of the most destructive things in life. It’s the reason the world is in the mess that it’s in today. It’s the reason families are broken apart through divorce or at least – kids must listen to their parents scream and yell at each other. It’s the reason that religious groups assert their faith and believe it grants them the right to judge others. It’s the reason that friendships are ended and why some people choose to walk away from their families.
Call me what you want. No, seriously — call me names. Hate me. Be angry with me. Give up on me. Walk away from me. Judge me. Make fun of me. Laugh at me. Whatever. I’ve reached the milestone in my life where I do not care about what people have to say to or about me when it comes to politics, faith or my personal belief system. It’s mine. I own it and I stand by it.
As I began to think about writing this particular entry, I thought about this great book by Sharon Creech – WALK TWO MOONS that I absolutely love for so many reasons.
And point in case, I loved it so much that when I taught middle school, I had my 7th Grade students read it and for the most part, I believe the majority of them gained many important life lessons from pages of the story. Well, that’s what I like to think, anyway.
It’s all about Salamanca Tree Hiddle, who had been taught from an early age, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.” It was a powerful message in the story and for me, personally. It’s so easy as human beings to judge people – religion aside. Every single human being on this planet has judged at least a billion times a day (an over-exaggeration, of course).
When we have those little thoughts – most of us have the common sense to just keep our mouths shut; however, some people just don’t have that ability and fueled by their own passions about whatever it might be – religion, politics, social issues, et al., they just have to blurt things out and don’t care if it hurts, demeans or induces hatred toward a person or a group of people. :::Sigh::: I digress and so, as the story progresses, we learn why this idea is and will be so important to Sal and her circumstance and we’re left to believe the rest of her life.
Throughout my life, I’ve always tried to be a fair person and as I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve gotten better at it – unless I’m pushed to a point in which I’m not being heard. And then, I choose to defend my point and if necessary, walk way – permanently – from those who think their opinion is the only one that matters.
I am the way I am because of how my parents raised me from the very start of my life. I was taught to be colour blind … to not judge or stereotype people based upon the actions of a group of people or having had a personal experience with someone. I feel that this lesson – this tenant of faith – of love one another was the most important lesson I learned in my life.
Did I always abide by this tenant? Sadly, no. There were times when I wasn’t the nicest person to others and for that I’ll always have regrets for how I treated some people in school. Of course, we hear the excuses of adults saying, “kids will be kids” and “it’s just a part of growing up”. In reality, it’s not just “kids being kids” and it’s not “just part of growing up” – it’s people not knowing how or not wanting to deal with the fact their children are being mean and cruel to others.
And left uncheck, kids actually develop a sense of security and a green light of — it’s okay to talk about people, make fun of them — and in the end, you can use your religion, social standing or any other ridiculous platform one chooses to stand on to justify why it’s okay to judge a person or a group of people.
History bears this out repeatedly — it has destroyed empires and millions have lost their lives from the crusades (often called the Holy Crusades) … the Inquisition … slavery … suffrage and civil rights. Lately, I’ve been thinking about all of the hate being spewed across the planet — bullying, the resurgence of public racism – look at the athletes/fans that have been sent home from the Olympics for their racist gestures/signs/tweets, anti-gay remarks/platforms and the people of Syria being slaughtered by their own government. I’m so confused about all of this … I’m left wondering: What’s going on with that love one another thing? Seriously.
In my lifelong study of the Holocaust, I’ve been able to develop a very strong sense of empathy for all humankind. This all goes back to the lessons my parents taught me … be colour blind and love one another. When you study how the Nazis came into power in Germany in 1933, you have to go back to their start in 1918.
They had just lost World War I and were humiliated beyond measure by the Allies. Inflation ran rampant, millions were without food and work … life in Germany could have been described as ‘hell on earth.’ Throughout Germany, there were pockets of anger that eventually collided and thus, the birth of a movement that would engulf Europe and the rest of the world into a war that none could have ever imagined.
What spurred the movement – of the Nazis – against the Jews? After World War I had ended, many Jewish communities worked together to overcome what they were faced with on a daily basis.
This collaborative effort wasn’t the norm in German communities — the ideology in most households was ‘to each their own’ — so, the small pockets of anger couldn’t understand why the Jews weren’t suffering as much as they were.
Thus, misplaced anger became hatred toward the Jews.
Let’s not forget that anti-Semitism had been rampant in Europe for centuries — these angry folks were just re-establishing it as a way to blame someone else for their failures. If you know the history from that point, you know that Hitler truly became the leader of a cause which sought to restore Germany to its former glory and he was a master manipulator.
I won’t spend hours walking you through the Third Reich’s reign of terror – instead, I’ll point out that when a group begins to judge people and nobody stands up for those being judged — it becomes accepted. That’s what the Nazis did to every group they did not believe fit the idea of their Germany. The victims of the Nazis were:
- The Jews (the largest group persecuted);
- the Poles; Soviet Slavs/POWs;
- the Romanies (Gypsies);
- the disabled (those challenged mentally, physically deformities – including blindness, deafness and mutes); non-Aryans (Africans and Asians);
- German political prisoners (members of all the political parties in Germany prior to the Nazis winning the entire control of the Bundestag [later called the Reichstag] on 12 November 1933) who refused to swear their allegiance to Hitler and the Nazis;
- the Communists;
- the Freemasons;
- the Esperantists;
- Enemy nationals (such as diplomats of the Allies who didn’t escape, those from Formosa [Taiwan] and Mexico living in Germany, refugees from the Spanish Civil War who were living in France and many Italians – who were executed/interned in concentration camps after Italy capitulated);
- Religious — the Jehovah’s Witnesses, some Catholic priests/nuns who did not follow Church edicts regarding the Nazis, members of the Confessing Church (who were very anti-Nazi and spoke openly about Hitler and the party), some Protestant ministers in Germany who stood up against the Nazis and the Baha’i Faith which was banned for its belief that all of the world should be united as one;
- Resistance – The SS wiped out entire towns/villages they believed were a part of resisting the Nazis and their policies … the infamous cases of Lidice, Khatyn, Sant’Anna and Oradour-sur-Glane. In Poland, one entire district in Warsaw was eliminated for their involvement in aiding the enemies of the Führer.
- The Underground – those who aided Jews by hiding and/or helping them escape Nazi Germany or countries controlled by the Nazis. In Poland and Nazi Germany, it was an automatic death penalty.
- Social deviants — prostitutes, homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, open dissidents, pacifists, draft dodgers and common criminals.
- The “Rich” Germans – the Nazis seized their assets and property holdings based upon the belief system engaged by Joseph Goebbels who said the rich were liberals and they manipulated the German economy to benefit themselves rather than the Fatherland and the Führer;
- Women – There were many women’s groups in Germany working to establish the rights of women (some would say they were the feminists of their day);
- Emigrants – those who had lived abroad for long periods of time who, according to the Nazis, couldn’t identify with ‘modern-day’ Germany since the Nazis had taken control.
At the end of it all … over 12 million people lost their lives simply because of who they were or what they believed at the hands of the Nazis. Of course, someone is now saying, “Is he really trying to compare the Nazis to Christians?” And the answer is not in the least. I introduced the Holocaust for one reason and one reason only: When people begin to judge a group of people because it doesn’t fit into their personal belief system, way of life, religious convictions or personal experiences — it becomes acceptable for the masses to judge those people as a whole. I believe everyone has the right to their own personal convictions, but some believe their personal convictions are right for whatever reasons they are choosing for them to be right.
You see, when the majority believes that they’re belief system is the only one that should be followed and anyone who doesn’t agree is less of a human being — is where the biggest problem of all begins … That’s called: big·ot·ry [big-uh-tree] noun – (a) stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own and/or (b) the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.
And so, I’m at a place in my life where I can no longer be silent whilst I watch how different groups of people – religious and non-religious – treat people who they don’t agree with on a regular, on-going basis because very few people are willing to stand-up for those who are being persecuted for who they are, their belief systems (religious and non-religious), race, culture, et al.
I believe the best way to share how you feel is through the example of how you live your life. In particular, it’s hard for me to see or hear people who claim to be Christians use Jesus’ name to justify their bigotry. I don’t believe – for a second – that Jesus died on a cross to justify the actions of those who live to point out everyone’s sins but their own. Of course, I am judged heavily when I share what I believe and am labelled a liberal. And if that’s the title I have to have because I stand up for what’s right — I’ll wear it like a first place ribbon from a country fair!
And sadly enough, I’ve reached a point in my life where I think that I can no longer associate with members of my own family nor remain friends with others I’ve known for a long, long time. I’ve been called many things, but one thing I won’t tolerate is being called “anti-Christian” or “lost” — my faith in Jesus Christ is just fine, thank you and He loves ME for whom He created me to be — and if you can’t agree to disagree without throwing your judgement at me … goodbye and good riddance.
And that’s about all I have to say about this issue. Take it or leave it.
Other than this issue weighing heavily upon my heart, I think I had an okay week. I’ve reached a milestone in my therapy sessions according to Dr Kim. I am starting to understand that some people are just not meant to be a part of our lives. As sad as that might be – it’s okay to walk away and never look back. By the time I left my session today, my head was stopped up because of all the crying I did.
I’ve allowed guilt to hold me hostage for so long that I’ve thought it was okay to let people treat me poorly, but that’s not the case any more. Dr Kim said that people might call me ‘dismissive’ because I won’t engage with them in their own battles or beliefs — and that I shouldn’t feel bad because some people don’t know how to be open-minded. Of course, I told her that some of my family and friends think being open-minded is being a liberal and she laughed – really hard. And that made me laugh and I felt much better.
So, as a part of my homework, I was told to make a list of things that I needed to do in order to continue my journey back to my own, personal happiness:
Stand up for something I believe in because it’s the right thing to do. (in case you didn’t read everything up above!)
- Refuse to be a part of anyone’s negativity.
- Just because it’s someone else’s issue doesn’t mean it has to be mine.
- Stand up for people no matter what others think, say or do.
- Speak out/up for education … it’s time that the voices of negativity put up the facts (not their research studies) or SHUT UP.
- Begin my overall transformation and remain loyal and faithful to it.
- Support my colleagues at every step of the way.
- Share how I am feeling when I am upset with someone instead of letting it boil to the stage of “I want to choke someone out”
- Know that it’s okay to be selfish for myself at times.
Some of these I’m already working on, but I’m not able to cross them off just yet! So, the road to happiness … continues with success every single day.
So, I discovered something called Viggle. Well, I heard about it from Kelsey Jane and well, now, I’m using it via my iPhone. If you have a SmartPhone (iPhone or Android — maybe others?) you just download it — Viggle, but sign up via http://join.viggle.com/BryceFSU — so, I get some credit for telling you all about this gem! It’s pretty simple — watch TV and earn points … points add up to gift cards and it’s the real deal!!! Of course, you can’t earn the points in a day or two — it will take some time, but trust me – it’s worth it in the long run if you like getting ‘free” stuff to places you want it from!!! 🙂
My boy Michael Phelps … so thankful that he’s had success in the last few days! Still not happy with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, but I’ve been stuck watching it since BBC was blacked out … I guess NBC was pissed-off that someone else was covering the games better than they were and are! I’m excited to see if Mr Phelps can pull out a couple more golds to send him into “retirement” — which, I don’t believe he’ll be able to stay away! We still have so much left to the Olympics — and so, I guess I’ll have to peruse all of the NBC channels to find what it is that I want to watch and if I can’t wait until midnight to see what happened earlier in the day — I’ll just head over to ESPN and find out that way! 🙂
So, here’s to everyone having a great weekend …