Native Writes: Love and laughter replace hatred

The month of December brings with it some dilemmas.

I grew up wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Alamosa didn’t have many different faiths.

Today, I am faced with holidays, social practices and persons who aren’t Christian.

“Happy Holidays” is a “one size fits all” greeting. If I know someone is a Christian, I say “Merry Christmas,” but if I know he or she isn’t, the other greeting works.

Explaining this recently, I was asked what had “broadened” me.

Umm, candy bars?

My faith is still the same as that of my childhood, but I have learned many persons are different than myself. A good person is a good person. A bad person isn’t necessarily evil and unredeemable, though someone else does the paperwork.

I still pray he or she will feel joy this time of year.

A church or synagogue is just a building but the believers are what fills it with love – or hatred, depending upon the spiritual leader.

The question was recently posed as to whether it’s acceptable to say “I love you” to friends and other persons I admire, same sex or different.

Sure. Why not?

Love has come to mean sexual activity and that’s wrong.

The usage has become part of common language. “Look at those dogs making love…”

Currently, the public climate is dripping with hatred, basically defined as intense disapproval or dislike. To say we must love others draws an eye roll or a grimace, often a loud verbal expression of disagreement. Love seems offensive to many.

Offended persons seek to tear down, change or eliminate. “Don’t shop there, don’t listen to that television commentator, don’t register with that party. Ban that song, burn that book, tear down that statue, hide that flag, forbid persons who dress differently from shopping in that business or eating at that table and don’t buy your new bathtub from that business because the owner donated money to someone we don’t like.” The list goes on and on, seeming to grow daily.

Still, it isn’t really hatred. Disapproval isn’t hatred unless carried to an extreme.

The late George H.W. Bush disliked broccoli so much he banned it from the White House, but he didn’t ban growing that green vegetable in the United States. His humanity was made clear during the lengthy coverage of his death and burial. He was perfectly imperfect and laughed about it.

I laugh at myself, as well. I’m the funniest thing that happened to me.

A hearty laugh each day feels better than taking offense. Let’s do it!