Something bizarre happened to me the other day: I had a calm and kind conversation with someone who doesn’t necessarily agree with me about Covid vaccines. I KNOW! It was refreshing and noteworthy.
For many reasons, our family has chosen to take advantage of the Covid vaccines available, both for Trent and me and for our older kids. We have confidence in the efficacy of the medical trials and we did research the risks. We want to do what we can to help get kids back in school, restaurants open, and be able to spend time with our loved ones who are immunocompromised. I definitely know several people whom I love dearly who will not be getting the vaccine, and I respect their decision.
After we took Carson and Syd to get their first dose, my neighbor texted and asked if we could chat. Of course my first thought was that one of my kids broke something of theirs and she was kindly letting me know. Good news! No lacrosse ball through her window. She has just heard from her daughter about our kids getting the vaccine, and she wanted to ask me about how we came to that decision. Although she and her husband are leaning toward NOT getting the vaccine, she asked questions and answered mine. We expressed respect for each other and I offered to pray for wisdom as they make a decision that is best for their family.
And then we started talking about volleyball and sidewalk chalk and sibling drama and birthday parties. No politics, no passive aggression, no hurt feelings. It was the opposite of pretty much everything I’ve seen on social media in the past year, and it gave me hope.
Recently I read a familiar Bible verse in a new light:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
How come I always seem to be one or the other? All salty or too sweet? I either get sassy and sarcastic, especially with people I disagree with, or I shy away from the truth and just stick to superficial small talk to avoid conflict. I love this reminder that our conversation has to be full of grace. It has to be respectful and kind. BUT, it also needs to be seasoned with salt! I believe the author, Paul, means that it needs to have truth in it, and sometimes truth has a kick, ifyaknowwhatimean. The people I admire most in this tumultuous season have found a way–online and in person–to be sweet and salty. They have well-thought-out opinions, and they express them, but they do it in a way that doesn’t dehumanize those who disagree. They welcome conversation, but reject simplified narratives that degrade opposition.
I think that’s why I was so pleasantly surprised by a simple conversation on the curb outside our home. I was reminded that when we see each other as valued humans, face-to-face, it IS possible to be sweet and salty.