Have you heard people say, “Life‘s too short…“ and then they continue with all kinds of things. Life’s too short to put up with toxic people, to read books that don’t thrill you, or to keep pens that don’t write. They will say it about almost anything they believe to be true.
There’s something very powerful about knowing and being able to list what you believe. For the most part, there aren’t many people who can do that.
In 1988, the wonderful movie Bull Durham came out and starred Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins. There’s one scene where Sarandon is “auditioning“ both men to be her boyfriend for the season. Costner‘s character, Crash, explains that he is too old to audition, and when responding to her statement, he says he doesn’t believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart. When prompted to tell what he does believe in, Crash launches into a speech guaranteed to make most women melt. In real life I have no doubt that if Paul pontificated like this, I would be annoyed, and would probably respond with something like, “Well, my my, isn’t someone a little opinionated.“ But in the films, it is swoon-worthy.
While I was thinking about Crash’s speech, I remembered a song from many years ago, and I did research that would impress a PhD candidate to find it. The duo Savage Garden sang a song called “Affirmation.” The refrain says:
I believe in Karma / what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can’t appreciate real love / until you’ve been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener / on the other side
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got/ until you say goodbye
Movies and songs provide a great encapsulated way of listing those beliefs, but it’s not quite as easy in real life.
I was faced with something resembling that this past week. I have a friend who stands on the opposite side of the fence that I do. And that’s fine, except the last few times we’ve gotten together she’s been throwing statements out that make my blood boil. I’m not sure why she has been doing it because it is not really her nature. I guess there are times when we all are itching for a fight or a debate maybe? Somehow I’ve managed to rein it in and avoid the argument. It totally has to be Divine Intervention because I do not possess that kind of self control on my own.
After agreeing on a different place to meet this week, she explained that it was because she was boycotting several places and products. At that moment, I knew things were coming to a head. So I had some hard thinking to do. I knew where I stood on the issues, and it wasn’t with the boycott/picket line, but I did need to distill and refine my thoughts. Was I willing to walk away from a 25 year friendship? When I thought about my beliefs, I realized I had to be.
Here’s the amazing part. When the conversation came up, I explained that I believe the complete opposite of what she does, so it’s best not to talk about it. Because here’s the other thing I realized: nothing I could say would change her mind in the least. I also believe that we are not ALL good or ALL bad. She has been a loving friend for over 25 years, a kind and caring person. Those attributes are not gone suddenly; the water is just a little muddy at the moment.
So here’s my list: I do believe life’s too short for reading bad books and hanging onto things that no longer serve a purpose; I do believe you can catch more flies with honey, and I believe our actions speak louder than our words. So in this case, screaming and yelling at her that ALL people deserve love probably wouldn’t do as much good as refusing to argue the issue with her and simply trying to live my life showing love to ALL people.