I poisoned my family.
Let me explain:
Andrew and I disagree about cleaning products. He urges us to try soap nuts in place of laundry detergent or switch to scent free, dye free, all natural sanitizer( a.k.a.: expensive re-packaged vinegar.) I prefer Tide, Dawn, and Cascade.
When we ran out of dishwasher detergent last week I ordered pods on Instacart. Andrew claimed it clumped on our dishes and made everything taste like chemicals. He started re-washing dishes by hand out of the dishwasher. I double down: “you are just against soap! Get over it!”
I ignored the bitter, filmy, floral flavored coating on every glass and plate.
Four dish cycles later, I finally noticed that Instacart replaced the dishwasher pods I ordered with laundry pods. We had to throw out all of the kid cups because we couldn’t get the chemical taste out.
This is 2020 in a nutshell.
Not only are ridiculous things happening but many of us become convinced that the way we see the world reflects truth -and everyone who disagrees is wrong.
I don’t know about you-but the pressures of the pandemic and the election cycle are bringing out my worst self.
It’s more than detergent arguments.
The other day in my neighborhood-I witnessed a car door fly open and a Styrofoam cup, lid, and straw dropped out. I couldn’t see the instigator but I imagined a car full of teens or a busy corporate executive thinking they owned the street. I took a picture of the littering act. As the car drove near me I raised up my arms and called out the littering. But the driver of the car, I learned, was an African American woman. She saw my gesture as an act of aggression related to her race and started yelling at me: “go to hell Karen!”
There we were – both of us at the height of our emotion and frustration and assumptions. Both of us convinced we were right and being wronged. But what if we were both just wrong?
In 2020, as I watch our decency and respect for one another crumble, I wonder: how did we get here?
I live and work in the swing state of Ohio. My social media is filled with snide, sarcastic, insulting posts tearing down both Democrats and Republicans depending on who I follow.
I have friends who have vastly different perspectives on the pandemic and get into heated debates about what this means.
As I scroll- Most of it makes me ill, but my favorite meme this week said: remember when you are in crisis, it’s your friends and family that will show up for you, not your convictions.
We have been poisoning each other in recent months.
In the same way I refused to even consider there was something wrong with the dishwasher soap, it seems we all refuse to consider that the issues of the world are complex and nuanced. These issues cannot be summed up in oversimplified tweets or headlines.
We have forgotten that we belong to another.
We have forgotten that we’re all in this together.
We have forgotten that we are similar in more ways than we are different.
This week reminded me to let go of my righteousness. I remembered that we all see only a part of what is true and good.
May we be humble enough to listen and learn from the people we love. May resist the temptation to double down on what we “know.” May we start to build up community, relationships and connections again- because the world needs us to create wholeness.