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Friendly Mantra

Published: Jan. 27, 2023


Dear Friends,

You never know what the consequences of a simple act - or sign - may be! An artist friend, who has attended Gila Friends Meeting a few times, just sent us this beautiful message. We asked, and she agreed that we could share this with you:

I wanted to share a little story with you about how helpful the mantra from your Gila Meeting yard sign was for me today.

A woman sitting across the aisle from me on the airplane from Grant County to Phoenix asked me where I was going. When I told her that I was on my way to South Dakota, she said “I really like your governor there.” I took a deep breath (inside my mask) and said “I'm not a fan.” She gave me a puzzled look, and we left it at that for a while.

I turned my head back to my book and kept telling myself “Have hope, choose love, be kind.” Kristi Noem, the current Governor of South Dakota, is heavily aligned with Trumpian rhetoric, and I often find myself at odds with her comments and ideology. So, there I sat, quietly chanting, “Have hope, choose love, be kind.”

After a while, the woman turned back to me and said, “I don't usually get to talk to people who disagree with me. Tell me more about why you're not a fan of her. I'm genuinely curious.”

Instead of being flummoxed, I responded by sharing the mantra with her that had silently been looping in my thoughts. I replied that there was a phrase that plays over and over in my mind and then told her what it was, “Have hope, choose love, be kind.” We both relaxed and then had a pleasant conversation, finding many things that we agreed upon. I think we were both surprised that we had so much in common after all.

Thank you for giving me the words I needed today. They calmed me, opened me, carried me through a conversation that might have been fraught without them.

Gila Friends Meeting decided to follow up by sending smaller version of our yard sign – a window placard – to each member of our Congressional delegation from New Mexico, along with a copy of the story in the Jan/Feb Western Friend about the sign’s history. We sent these in a package to FCNL, where Justin Hurdle agreed to see to it that they are personally conveyed to the respective congressional offices by an FCNL staff person. We sent a placard for the FCNL office, too!

from Tom Vaughan, Gila Friends Meeting (1/25/2023)