Diversity is the key to all human growth. It is through our differences that we are able to develop understanding, empathy, curiosity and so much more. Humanity was intended to exist in synergy with a constant state of learning and growing from the differences we share. It should lead us to an understanding and empathy for others. We give and we get through our differences. Unfortunately, the synergy of humanity is off. Instead we exist in a constant state of overload that makes it difficult to remain open and ready to learn from each other.
Think about the conversations you have on any given day. They are more often than not superficial in nature. Observations of behavior, weather, celebrity or sport are all safe and easy surface material. Surely these interactions are not likely to cause conflict or debate. *Although I must note, in this house that can not always be counted on. My poor husband was born a Yankee and NY Giants fan. Thankfully I was born a Red Sox and Patriots fan. You could say we have had our fair share of debates. Joking aside, the lighthearted banter we often engage in remains superficial in nature. We fill a lot of our day with safe material like this. I imagine, it is to avoid the work that comes along with digging into more meaningful topics.
Take this situation for instance, I have an aunt who is extremely passionate about politics. She is smart and knows what she is talking about. She has strong opinions and is proud to share them. Sometimes we share the same opinions and sometimes we don’t. We come from a large, loud, and proud Irish family. Not too long ago we were gathered at the home of my cousin when the election came up. There were a number of people there with varying opinions. Things started to get loud. Each person talking and not one listening. People were frustrated. I’m sure people were thinking, “How ’bout them Red Sox?” Instead of sweeping the important and the messy under the rug my aunt challenged us to try harder. She reminded us that it is not only ok but it is important that we all have different opinions. She encouraged us to discuss and debate respectfully with an open mind and to learn from each other. Thank you Auntie, you don’t know this but that moment left a lasting impression on me.
How can we appreciate the messages we are intended to receive when we are so guarded and distracted? It takes intention and courage to resist the quick judgement of another. It is far too easy to simply shut out any conflicting opinion or position. What I believe, and what I encourage you to entertain is that, given the time and space to hear the journey of any person, we are all capable of connection and compassion. Not to say we will all agree, or understand, but with time and space there is most certainly going to be a synergy, if you will, that is simply part of our humanity.
We must remember, while people exist to be happy and free, in the end we are all broken in one way or another. Perhaps it is our brokenness that sets us apart or, maybe that brokenness is meant to bring us together.