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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mr. B and Me

Once upon a time there was a liberal named Mr. B and a conservative named Michelle. Michelle worked for Mr. B and his wife in their home. Over the years they became more than employer/employee. They became friends. Family in many ways.

One day Mr. B asked Michelle, "What do you think about politics?"

And so began the first of many, many discussions, not only on politics but on religion, family, hopes, dreams and anything else the two could think of to talk about.

Mr. B passed away in 2007. I miss him dearly. I miss our chats. After Mr. B suffered a stroke in 2002, I was in his home four times a week to help with his care and the care of the house while Mrs. B focused on getting him strong again. During those years of his recovery, we spent a lot of time just talking. One of his favorite topics was politics. Our conversations took place during the Clinton years--Mr. B liked Clinton but disapproved of his personal failings-- and President Bush's first term.

Now, I was not a blind fan of President Bush, but I like the guy. Mr. B did too, although not as a president. I would like to know what Bush's presidency would have looked like had 9/11 not happened, but that's not possible. Iraq and the war cannot be summed up as good or bad, black or white. There's a lot of gray area in my opinion. Taking Saddam Hussein out of power was absolutely a good thing. The mess that followed was not. Had the world been on board with us, things would have been different. But the world seems to think we're a "global community" only when it comes to tourism and making money. War and fighting evil dictators is not their business.

Mr. B and I never agreed on Iraq. He felt the whole thing was a disaster. I see his point. One just has to watch the news to see that. But when asked if taking Saddam H. out of power was a good thing, Mr. B had to agree that it was. We both agreed it should have been done a decade sooner though, after Saddam invaded Kuwait.

Abortion was one of those topics Mr. B struggled with. He believed in the sanctity of life, but also believed a woman should be able to choose what happens to her own body. Someone close to him once had an abortion and I think it was hurtful to think of it in terms of "killing a baby." When he told me that, I never brought up the subject again. There was no need.

Obama was just coming on the scene when Mr. B took a turn for the worse. His cancer was back with a vengeance. When I asked him what he thought about Obama, he frowned. "I don't think he has enough experience to be president." I wholeheartedly agreed!

Gay marriage was another thing we agreed on. Neither of us was for it.

Which brings me to another topic Mr. B enjoyed discussing with me: Religion and Christianity.

He and Mrs. B grew up Methodist but admit they'd let their church going slip over the years. Once they retired to our town, they made a point of becoming involved in the local Methodist Church. By that time I'd grown much deeper in my own walk with the Lord and I was sometimes amazed at how childlike Mr. B's questions could be. Yet, aren't we all continuously growing in spiritual understanding and maturity? None of us has "made it" or received a diploma from God saying we've got our degree in Spiritual Maturity and can now quit learning. I suppose it was because Mr. B was so much older and wiser about many topics that I expected him to know more about the Bible and God than I did.

One particular discussion comes to mind.

Mr. B wanted to know if I thought all religions lead to God. Well, yes, ultimately. Every single person, whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Muslim or whatever will one day stand before God. THE God! The one and only God! So, in a sense, yes, all religions lead to God. But not all religions lead to heaven, and that is where Mr. B and I parted ways. He didn't see how God could condemn good people to hell because they didn't know Jesus as their Savior. I quoted John 14:6 until I was blue in the face, but he never did agree with me.

Yet in all these discussions...over a decade of conversations...not once did we resort to calling each other names. Not once did we raise our voices and demand that the other agree with us. Not once did Mr. B dismiss my opinion because we differed and not once did I dismiss his. We respected each other. We respectfully disagreed. We didn't get all offended and huffy when the other couldn't be swayed. Name calling, angry outbursts. They don't bring anything positive to a discussion and I'm glad we didn't resort to that.

I miss my liberal friend.

I wish there were more Mr. B's in the world!

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