READY: A New Year’s wish from the heart

Mary Ready, Ready or Not

Have you broken your New Year’s Resolution yet? Assuming you even made one, chances are you’ve found New Year's resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep, and only about 40 percent of us are still holding on to them in July, according to John Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.

Perhaps, personal resolutions are not the answer to the positive changes so needed in our sad old world these days. A sincere unselfish wish for 2014 that would benefit others may have more staying power than whether or not a single person stops smoking.

As Cinderella sang, “A dream is a wish your heart makes … If you keep on believing the dream that your wish will come true.” 

O.K., that’s kinda cheesy, but the message is clear.

Wish sincerely with your heart and do your part to make it so.

Instead of a New Year’s resolution, Kathy Lux posted a wish on Facebook. I asked her permission to quote what she said:

“My wish for 2014 is that we as a society will drop the word "hater" from our vocabulary. To do that, we have to drop the idea that we need to weigh in on every little thing we might disagree with and zero in on the idea that we haven't walked in that particular individual's shoes, that if we had the background of experience that this particular individual has had, we might behave in the same unacceptable(to us) manner, and that we are not the judge and juror of this particular individual or entity. May I be kind and generous to those I meet who have had a different story than mine.”

I think Kathy’s on to something. 

This is not the first time I’ve broached the topic of hatred. In August of 2012, I wrote a column about it, and got slammed for being a bigot, racist, homophobe, you name it. I’m reprising some of it in part:

Lately, both liberal and conservative diatribes have made references to “haters” and “hate speech” with both sides enjoying the accompanying name calling and stereotyping, 

Based on my Southern, conservative, Christian understanding, I take the terms to mean “If you disagree with me, then you are a hater, and you are speaking hatred.”

So, I looked up a definition for “hate speech” and discovered it meant, in legal terms, “speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred or violence against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.”

I have no problem, in spite of my personal and sometimes prissy beliefs, with how others choose to live their lives, and I’ll gladly share my Chic-fil-A any day with someone who is gay, homeless, Muslim, gypsy, chain-smoker, atheist, or Democrat. These folks are my fellow human beings and deserving of my kindness. But, I’ll still be called a hypocrite and a hater if I don’t see things the same way they do.

Maybe I’m a little confused by what others mean by “hater” or “hate speech.” So, I just look to Jesus, who taught us to love all and respect all. And let Him do the judging when the time comes for judgment.

I totally disagree with Westboro Baptist Church. I totally disagree with anything said by Nancy Pelosi. I can’t understand why atheists believe the Bible is a book of mythology. I’d have to be tied to a chair to watch Duck Dynasty or listen to rap music.

I honor and respect our military men and women, but I’m furious so many lost their lives for a failed war, especially now that Fallujah is back in Al-Qaida’s hands. But I can’t bring myself to say “I HATE.” I may feel confusion, doubt, puzzlement, amazement, anger, frustration, but hatred is too toxic a poison to ingest and live at peace with myself and others. 

For me, it comes down to what’s in your heart. Not what’s in your ideology.

How to avoid being a “hater”? No matter how you define it, whether you’re Christian conservative, non-Christian liberal, Christian liberal, or non-Christian conservative, don’t forget the importance of listening to your heart and find some loving kindness for those who are diametrically opposed to your viewpoints.

 That may very well be the key to a better 2014.

 Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.