By Lauren R. Stanley
If you could have anything you wanted for Christmas, I'm often asked, what would it be?
OK, if I could have anything, of course I would ask for world peace. I'm a priest - what else would I ask for?
But I don't get to have just anything, any more than anyone else does.
So I'm going to make a realistic list of things that are entirely within the realm of human gift giving.
What do I want?
I want a restoration of civility in the world.
I want us to be nicer to each other.
I want the excruciating rudeness and nastiness and boorishness to Just. Stop. Now.
I want us to remember that we all come from ancient space dust, that we were all created in God's image from that dust, and that we are all related. Whether we like it or not, we are all related. And that in the end, we shall return to that dust. Whether we like it or not.
I want the name-calling and the insults and the sneers and the snark to stop.
I want people to stop separating the world into "us" and "them." There are no "thems" in God's very good creation. We all belong to God, and there's not a damned thing we can do about it.
I want all of us to remember that we could all be wrong. As in, what I believe about God and what you believe about God not only could be different, but we both could be wrong. And we will not know the answer until we meet God face to face. So stop with this nonsense about my religion being better than your religion.
In the same vein, kindly remember that because one of us says God and another says Allah and another says Jehovah and another says Dios and another says Bwana Mungu and another says Wakantanka doesn't mean that we worship separate gods. It merely means we speak different languages. There is only one God. Deal with it.
I want there to be fewer weapons in the world, and no more of this so-called "I can carry a gun wherever I want so I can scare the bejesus out of you because it's my right." You have the right to carry the gun. I have the right not to be intimidated.
I want our so-called leaders and candidates to stop talking about carpet-bombing people. And no more of this "let's kill all their family members just because we can." No one can be a leader whose solution is simply to murder, in cold blood, anyone on Earth.
I want people to stop drawing lines in the sand and to start walking together to make the world a better place. United we truly will stand together. Divided? We shall fall.
I want Black Lives to Matter. And Native Lives. And Hispanic Lives. And All Lives. Because all of us are created in God's image, and all of us deserve to be treated well. All of us.
I want less complaining and more complimenting. Stop bitching about how others have more, or have what you want. Start building up those same people, because they have succeeded.
I want more helping and less demanding help. Really, it's not that hard. As Robert Fulgham said in his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, "Share everything." How hard can that possibly be? Remember, you can't take your toys with you when die.
I know . . . I want a whole lot of things, most of which I will not be given as a gift.
But I can give these same things as gifts.
I can be more polite and more affirming.
I can give more, and demand less.
I can work harder to get more people across the finish line.
It is all up to me, and I know that.
Oh, and a few more kettlebells would be nice.
So would some silver earrings. Those would go so well with my ever-whiter hair.