I am taking a page from Brene Brown today, "People are hard to hate close up, move in."

Yesterday I wrote about love.  Today I am sadden that I will write about hate.  I am sad and frustrated to hear of another school shooting. I went to college at Virginia Tech and was on campus just 4 days after their mass school shooting where 32 died.  My father and uncle committed suicide using a gun.  I had a step-father pull a gun on me and my mother. I believe that we are not being a responsible country and are not keeping our citizens safe.  I believe that the conversation around gun regulation tends to lean to the far extremes, preventing us to do anything in between.

And, let me be very clear that I grew up in the rural south and learned to shoot when I was 10 years old.  I grew up with guns in the house and had a clear understanding of how to keep them safe and secure.  I celebrated many holidays eating deer or rabbit from the morning hunt. I went on bird hunts and watched in joy as my dog retrieved the birds, doing the work they loved.  I believe in gun ownership. And I believe in regulation of gun ownership and limitations to the types of guns we have access to. 

With that being said, I refuse to hate and I refuse to dehumanize those I disagree with.  In order to navigate difficult conversations or a difference of opinions, we must see each other as human.  We must deepen a mutual understanding of each other. We must have the courage to NOT pick sides and adopt the attitude and behaviors of those we oppose. We must not protect our beliefs so powerfully and defensively that the result we get is further disconnection and dehumanization of each other.  What we must do is lean in and "intentionally be with people who are different from us. We're going to have to sign up, join and take a seat at the table."-Brene Brown

I have some very strong beliefs.  I am not afraid to speak my mind and stand behind my beliefs.  I am also not afraid to listen.  But I know that my listening is not purely open and unfiltered when the speaker is screaming, calling me names, calling me wrong, attacking and making me feel small and less than human.  So I will not scream, name call, make wrong, attack and make others feel small.  I will not create a bigger division so that I can take a seat at the table and have an honest, vulnerable, and meaningful conversation.  I will move closer and work towards a common understanding so that we can come together.