/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » peace vs. presence

Warning: this post is mostly some “thinking aloud” for me and is subject to change as my thinking progresses. 😉

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So we live in the greater Ann Arbor area. Mecca of Wolverines, beautiful old architecture, quite a bit of laissez-faire thinking and living, and ground-zero for many who live lives very differently than we do.

That’s okay. We knew that when we moved here, and in fact we looked forward to the differences we’d find and the way we could impact the local culture and people for the better. It’s different than who Mark and I *are*, but “different” doesn’t equal “bad,” it’s just “different.” We largely think that the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.

So getting involved in the local community means many different things, but for me, it means interacting online with other parents, learning the ropes, the culture, etc. Cool. That’s who I am and how I’m wired. Email and message boards are significantly less-than-ideal in regards to understanding nuance and intent, but you can still learn a lot about people in this medium. You learn who is a “keyboard bully” and fires off messages saying things they’d never dare to say in a face-to-face meeting, who is trepidatious in what and how they say it, and who “has a mouth on their fingers,” as one of my friends says. 😉

Good, bad, and ugly, it’s there.

So I’m involved on a large list in the area and discussion has been somewhat inflamed as of late. I stayed out of it (successfully) for a day or so and then it got to where I simply couldn’t keep quiet. I’m keen on using allegorical stories in trying to make a point and did this time as well, but apparently the point was missed. Or avoided. Whichever.

The early part of the weekend has been a lot of name-calling, anger, and aspersion-spewing on the list, and as I talked to a friend (who’s also on the list), we discussed the tone and the desire for peace. Because at my heart, that’s really what I want~what I thrive on. I’m happy to defend my choices if called to do so, but I don’t go looking for fights or arguments. I’m also happy to be a part of a community which I love. The people here are so wonderful–diverse, friendly, and more than anything, people that God loves passionately. And that inherent worth isn’t lost on me.

But as I think (and think and rethink) about my participation on the list, I wonder if peace in my mind is more valuable than what I could contribute as a member of the group. Is it better to be peaceful in my mind and heart, or to be salt and light and be involved in the community in this way? Sure, there are ways that I could be involved in the community without the email list, but this is a great resource for information (not just flame wars or debates) and I’ve grown quite fond of many on the list.

I don’t know what my final answer is. I do know that this dust-up will die down and that another one will start up eventually. As my friend said tonight, if you really wanted to deflect from the current discussion, post about having a baby, circumcising and mass-vaccinating during the circumcision, using disposable diapers, soy formula, and planning a chicken pox party for your older child all in the same message. It surely would stir things up and deflect, but I can also see the moderators saying, “Now where *is* that “ban” button?” 😮.

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  • Cyber Sis Jen

    I have been there, sis! Do I stay and contribute or do I skip the turmoil? For me, it was the right choice to leave. It was just more than I could handle to remain in the fight and read how much hate and anger there is in the world over truly insignificant things. Not that I am naive, but I chose not to have that negativity enter my head and heart any longer. There is enough in the world without actively seeking it out!Praying for wisdom for you, Jen