The thanksgiving meal and… ummm… “difficult” people

The past week or so has been a week of angst on social media and the media in general. How do you have a nice meal with people who are not in your political camp?

Mostly, it’s about “tolerating” the “difficult” people. (It never occurs to us that we’re the difficult ones at times.)

Here is a thought for Thanksgiving. Don’t wait for that “one” meal. Don’t “tolerate” the “difficult” people.

Instead, walk in humility. Don’t get so prideful about your perfect view of life, religion, politics, or sports.

Learn to listen. This is the what is missing more than anything in our culture right now. We’re too busy lecturing the “difficult” people.

More than that, why in the world are you waiting for that ONE “difficult” meal? Try this: have difficult conversations with difficult people more often. Get out of your comfortable (and very small) echo chamber and go get coffee with folks not like you.

Last week my wife and I went on a bus trip with folks from other churches to visit the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. As we sat in a small church after our visits, one reflection from a dear friend rang true. She said it was so important to her and her husband to go to dinner in public places with people not like them. They want to make a statement publicly than it’s a beautiful thing when white couples and black couples sit together.

In the South, that’s a bigger deal than you realize sometimes. AND, it also leads to conversations over meals where you have lowered the temperature and those “difficult” conversations become a place of grace.

We are where we are in this cultural moment because we have avoided the difficult conversations for the safety of our very small echo chambers. Let us, instead, become people full of grace and people able to hear what we don’t like and roll with it anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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