Life is Like A Cherry Pie
Before all our electronic communication particularly social media, we had long conversations with our friends, face to face. When we got together we would laugh, a lot, sometimes we would cry, and occasionally we would argue. Most of the time we would make up, sometimes not, but when we decided to either make up or not we knew the reasons why. We either had gotten to know the other so well we couldn’t imagine not talking to them every day or we had gotten to know them so well we couldn’t imagine ever talking to them again. In other words we had taken the time to get to know people from the inside out. Their character is what mattered. It was after we took the time to get to know people did we then decide if these relationship were worth working at and maintaining or not.
My kids grew up in a small town. I knew nothing about small town living when I moved there in my early thirties. When I left 14 years later what I know now, more than anything else about small town living is you get to know people. You make friends and you build relationships. Most friendships are long and deep, some are superficial and short, but when you decide to call someone a friend it is because you have gotten to know them, the good the bad, the pretty, and the ugly. I mean that in reference to the many sides of one person. I’m not judging people on their goodness or attractiveness.
So what does this have to do with cherry pie?
You know when you cut a piece a fresh from the oven hot cherry pie, all the filling runs out and fills the empty space? That is the way it is when we decide to take the time to get to know others. Once we do we cannot separate one section of their life from another. Everything that makes them unique and someone that we want to call a friend all melds together in one big hot mess of cherry pie or one big hot mess of individuality.
We could, for the purpose of this analogy put our lives into separate little pie shape pieces; kids, marriage, work, religion, politics, money, hobbies, goals, and so on. Your pie might have more wedges or different wedges the point is all of our pies, or lives, have many different wedges but all blend together. When we take the time to get to know people and build a relationship we know and understand who they are by all of their pieces even if one is missing or never talked about.
Way before the 2016 election rolled around we were all busy making friends. I’m sure you were too but I’m specifically talking about the folks in our small Texas town. We were busy, running our kids from here to there, doing all the normal every day activities that everyone participates in.
During all of this activity we were meeting people, and meeting up with people and we would talk. We would discuss life, kids, work, and activities. We talked about everything except politics.
We didn’t’ really have to because it is easy to tell the way a person votes by knowing every other aspect of their lives. In other words knowing how a person lives their life is a predictor on how they will vote. Probably? Also, how they voted didn’t matter because, well quite frankly we voted too. Still their political affiliation didn’t matter because we had already established a relationship. We had already decided to like or dislike a person based on the other pieces of their pie, based on their character, based on the way they lived their life overall.
When the 2016 election cycle finally did roll around many would share their politics on their social media sites and it got heated, very heated. People got mad. People that had known for years were now tearing into each other, calling each other names, threatening to unfriend them, at least in the cyber world. Worse than that many would call for a social media cleansing claiming if others had the intention of voting for their opposing candidate, those others could just unfriend them right away. People weren’t even willing to do the dirty work themselves they wanted others to be the one to make the click. They didn’t even want to consider a friendship that may be in jeopardy. I suppose they wanted the other person to simply disappear them their lives, all because opinions differ.
One of the best things about our little town was/is that we took the time to build relationships. When folks started to post their politics, I wasn’t surprised about anyone’s opinion. More importantly my opinion of them didn’t change. Honestly, you can take that both ways. I neither liked a person more of less because of their politics. Our feelings for each other had already been established. I knew their character and they knew mind. I have never nor do I ever want to unfriend someone because of his or her politics. I already knew so many of the other pieces of their pie that their politics did not matter. Every piece of the pie makes up the whole person, we can’t choose the slices that we want and throw the rest away. Each piece runs into the other. You can respect a person for many reasons, their work, their family life, community service, and never talk about politics.
Hot cherry pie is messy, so are people we are not compartmentalized; every part of us runs over into the other parts. All of the different aspects of our lives blend together perfectly.
Get this, when I went back to college in my late thirties I had a professor tell me that I had to make a choice. He said I either had to be a student or a mother I could not be both. I told him that I am a mother and I will always be a mother but I am also a student. I was not one or the other I was both. We can be many things at the same time. In today’s world we can be everything we are plus a person of political beliefs. That professor only wanted to know me the student, the other parts of me that made me, me were insignificant to him.
He never really spoke to me much after that. I guess you could say he unfriended me in real life, because social media hadn’t even been invented yet.
In our little town my friends and I got to know each other wholly, and let our relationships grow according to their own motivation to grow. What I mean is some friendships grow slow and steady, others bloom and then fade away, while others never really take root. What I don’t want to do is lose a chance at a deep-rooted, steady, long lasting friendship simply because we are in separate political parties.
I have many friends who vote differently than me and I wouldn’t want to lose their friendship for anything. On the flip side I know people who vote exactly the same way I do and our friendship never really took off. My politics, their politics are only a piece of who we are.
Just like hot cherry pie, if we were to remove one piece all the filing from the other pieces would run into the empty space. In other words all of our pieces make up the whole of who we are and they all run together and influence the others.
Going back to my professor story, I had to work hard and fast because I was a mother and a student. Those two things made me successful, but also caused me to struggle, either way those things ran together in a big hot mess of pie filling most of the time. It would have been impossible to separate the two, nor did I want to.
We are running through another election cycle and according to my social media pages I don’t see a lot of lessons learned from the last one. Friendships and people, are too valuable to throw away simply because we walk down different political aisles.
Remember before social media when we would gather around the kitchen table sharing a pot of coffee and maybe eating pie, and solve all the worlds’ problems without so much as raising our voice. We usually met with people that were on the same side of policy as we were. It was fun, we knew who agreed with us and who didn’t. When we wanted to vent we called up the one or two friends that were all in agreement and we spoke our minds, said our piece, and felt better.
Maybe that was a better way; maybe we should go back to that.
Then again if we truly want to understand others we should brew the coffee and bake the pie and invite those over whom we disagree, and take the time to get to know them and talk about everything, all of the time.
Then when the time is right we can talk about our differences and take the time to listen and to hear them without trying to change their minds, and they also hear us without trying to change our mind.
It is through understanding of the other that we fill the deep chasms between us and restore unity.
Maybe this is a better way, maybe we should try it this way instead