If you missed CONVO #1 on SAVING CONVERSATION, you can listen by copying this link and clicking: https://1drv.ms/u/s!Asfc_1Nx41LwgYdffizom47EM7fPHQ or go to www.facebook.com/sharonhersh.

Yes, I introduced myself as an almost 60 year-old woman (holy cow!) who is half Republican, half Democrat; part introvert and part extrovert; a recovering alcoholic; fierce lover of Jesus; and as someone who just voted in my first mid-term election for the first openly gay governor in America. My co-conversationalist didn’t see that one coming! Quite honestly, I was afraid after I said it – afraid that the only thing people would hear during our thirty minute conversation would be my sound bite about this one vote. I was afraid of being judged, misunderstood, and harshly criticized, because that is what happens on social media. In fact, 70% of the content on social media is negative. I found myself wondering what I was doing trying to have a conversation on social media that was honest and vulnerable.

If all you heard is that I voted for Jared Polis for governor of the state of Colorado, then I’m afraid you missed the point – you missed me, because mostly what I wanted to say is that I’m lonely and longing for more. I’m one of those people who goes home at the end of the day and doesn’t have anyone to talk to. I long for meaningful conversations and yet often find myself in a room full of people with no one to talk to – I mean really talk to.

I often feel like I have a heart – with no one to give it to. That is why I invited Nick to join me in The Convos to practice really talking and really listening to one another in hope that we might learn to love each other better and that would ripple into other relationships and conversations.

If you are wondering why I voted for Jared Polis, I will tell you. I am not an issue-driven woman. I am energized by relational realities and that influenced my vote. Someone very dear to me was lost in the loopholes of our healthcare system because she was denied treatment for mental illness and addiction. I heard stories of this candidate teaching in marginalized communities and giving school supplies (in secret) to families that could not buy them for their children. I voted with a heartbroken sense of believing that what doesn’t work for “them” shouldn’t work for me.

I could say some negative things about the other candidate, but the truth we all really know is that every candidate is human, has skeletons in their closets, and looks good in those campaign photos but doesn’t always look so good to the people who know them the best.

I will admit there is something about politics and about this mid-term election that breaks my heart, and that is what I want to talk about. In his beautiful essay, “The Politics of the Brokenhearted,” Parker Palmer acknowledges that politicians are adept at “using” issues that break people’s hearts – abortion, gay rights, marriage and family, faith, terrorism, gun violence, patriotism.  Nick and I are going to begin a series of conversations about politics and these topics in the next Convo (Tuesday, November 20 7:30 p.m. MST at www.facebook.com/thirtysixwords LIVE and reposted on my Facebook page). I want to approach that conversation as well as reflect on our current political realities with a broken heart.

A broken-open heart.

Palmer writes: “Broken-open hearts are in short supply these days, at least in politics. Formed – or deformed – by an impatient and control-obsessed culture, many of us do not hold social and political tensions in ways that open us to the world. Instead, we shut our hearts down, either withdrawing into fearful isolation or angrily lashing out at the alien “other”: the alien at home becomes unpatriotic, the alien abroad, an enemy. Heartbroken and heavily armed, we act in ways that diminish democracy and make the world an even more dangerous place.”

Our commitment, in The Convos, is to hold our hearts open in hope that we will love better and that perhaps the world will be a little bit better, even as we know that love can break out hearts.

Last week I was talking to a 16 year-old girl about politics (did you know teenagers like to talk about politics?). She was lamenting that she couldn’t talk about politics with her parents because they disagree with her perspectives and even think she is dangerously close to not being a Christian because of her beliefs. My heart broke wide open for this beautiful young woman when she told me why she even bothered trying to discuss the president and Brett Kavanaugh and immigrant rights and health care with her parents. She said, “I know it won’t really change anything, because I can’t even vote, but I keep hoping it will change us, and my parents and I will know each other better and feel more like a family than a group of individuals.”

And a child can lead us.

What if talking and listening to each other about the most contentious topics could break our hearts wide open and change us so that we know each other better and feel more like a family?

I am willing to give it a try.

I hope you will join us in THE CONVO on politics and that “holy cow!” will shift to holy ground.

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:35).