Longing for the days of live and let live

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snowy farmland

There are — and always have been — those who would wish to control others through ways both tangible and the powerfully unseen, unmeasured.

I choose to walk in the reality that our views and beliefs are as myriad as our ever-shifting physical location and appearance and then some.

When we refuse to be enlightened by the views of others, we cease to be truly capable of contentment. The roar of those wishing to change the rest of the world, forcing individuals of every walk of life to see things in one light, becomes so loud it becomes background static.

I have watched friendships crumble amidst this kind of stance, feet planted in concrete, words dripping with sarcasm, rooted deeply in negativity and anger. Who does this serve? Who does this change? It changes what was once balance, grace and hope. It negates enlightenment.

This past week, we received news that one of my father’s dearest friends had died. It prompted memories of many talks around the table, coffee cups in hand. What I admired about both of those good men is their intelligent, thoughtful words spoken with insightfulness, coupled with a genuine curiosity to see things from another viewpoint.

There were times the conversation was picked up again out around the machinery shed, while working on equipment.

“Hey, I thought of something you said awhile back … ” one of these men might say, and shared viewpoints were kicked around some more.

I soaked it all up, learning to hold an issue from afar and view it from various vantage points. I miss those days more than I could ever begin to put into words.

I miss the peace we once felt, even in disagreement, in this country. I resent with deep sorrow that the very young must participate in school safety drills, preparing for the horrific possibility of an active shooter. I ache for the lost joy and innocence of young parents and their children, walking a journey on such unstable ground through no fault of their own.

Live and let live. Such a simple statement, and yet it says so much. I believe, more than ever, it has become a necessary mantra.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.

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