I saw photos of Michelle Obama today, ones showing her clad in tennis shoes and gardening gloves, sporting dirty knees. I like seeing her out in the garden like that. Of course, she’ll likely never venture out looking like I do when I garden in the heat of summer, but I’ll cut her some slack. I don’t have the news media following me around.
This Whitehouse garden may be a publicity thing, but there are a lot of people happy about it. There are those who aren’t, too, but that’s another story. My guess is, most people don’t care one way or another. Still, I like seeing her out there on her hands and knees, putting herbs in the ground and talking with kids who are excited about growing things. This Gardening Obama is someone I can relate to as a gardener. I’m trying to find similarities, commonalities.
I want to like the Obamas. I think they seem like they could be nice people. Who knows what they’re really like, when the TV cameras aren’t on? I would like to think that media and matters of state put aside in favor of some family time, they’re average people when they’re hanging out with their kids at home.
NO, I do not like their politics. But I do not demonize them as people. I did there for a while, I admit it. I was truly frightened of what Obama would bring with him to the office. Truthfully, I still am. As far as I’m concerned, there are reasons to mistrust him.
However, I’ve also did some thinking. I thought about how bitter people spout such vile things and outrightly demonize Bush; these people will not even concede that he’s done some good as a person, let alone as President. Do I want to be that type of person when it comes to people with whom I disagree?
It’s rare that any of us see all the actions of an individual. We’re certainly not privvy to a person’s thought process on every decision. Can anyone but God discern the deepest intentions of a person’s heart?
In my everyday life, when I see people doing something good, I make a point of recognizing it. I want to find the good in people and praise it. I often fail at this, of course, for I’m human and sometimes react before I think. We all do. I assure you, though, it’s my heart’s desire to be an encourager and I feel a twinge (or sucker punch) of regret any time my words wound someone. Venting might feel cathartic for a moment, but that’s not who I want to be.
I ponder this: It is possible to separate people from their actions and like people at the very same time we disagree with the course they’ve chosen. In this case, we did not vote for Obama, but many of our good friends – many of them Christians as we are – did vote for him. Their reasons were as varied as those cited by people who opposed his election.
The thing is, I don’t have to agree with them. We have many friends whose political and social views are way different than ours. That doesn’t mean we can’t love each other and be friends.
So, on broader terms, I am trying to have the same outlook with President and Mrs. Obama. I disagree heartily with a lot that they say and do, and if asked I may talk about it. I don’t, however, want to take cheap potshots at them as individual people. That’s not to say I won’t ever be critical of decisions they make or things they say, but I’m trying to see the good, too. And I pray for them to have a real relationship and walk with God, just as I prayed our former Presidents would. Theirs is a huge job, leading a country, and I think we can all agree that every President, presidental family and administration need all the prayer they can get.