Are you shocked by the daily hatred spewed against the thems? Do the divisions in our country sadden and frighten you ? Like me, are you a dreamer who is wondering what has happened to people’s hearts?
Then why don’t we examine what it means to be different. Or the same. I differ from you, how? Let’s see. It could be my political party, what region of the country I live in, the church I go to, the shade of my skin or hair, who I want to marry. Those are the sorts of things that seem to be dividing our nation big time.
But I think they’re pretty friggin’ arbitrary. To begin with, my family is made up of many political parties; Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and even a Libertarian or two. I love each of them no matter how they vote behind the curtain. And I’ve found I don’t even agree with everything people in my own party say and do. There are some things they propose or some personal actions that give me pause. Second, I live on the Central Coast of California but does that mean I’d say to my Washington friends, “Mt. Ranier? No way. It’s Whitney or no mountain at all.” Or to Texans, “Can’t hang with you. Your state is shaped like a weird pancake.”
Of course not, it’s silly!
How about the church, synagogue, mosque, or the open field people choose to pray in? If I see them walking into those doors, or, if they choose, skipping the trip, I don’t say I’ll never walk with them again. Their spirituality is between them and their God. Same goes for shades of skin and hair. Mine change with how much time I’m in the sun and how many trips I make to the hair dresser. But I sure as Hell don’t trade my friends from season to season depending on whose skin shade more closely matches mine. Now it’s winter and I’m pale, I think Myrtle and I match but OMG when summer comes I’m only going to do drinks with tan Zelda.
Or who I want to marry? I married a man, (GASP!) but was still in school. Had to take classes after the wedding and finish my degree. But I haven’t noticed anyone shunning me for School Marriage.
The ways we are different are as myriad as life itself; birthday and time, address, social security number, how many hangnails on our left hands, height, weight, job, education, how much money is in our bank accounts, family make-up, favorite food, house color, car make, piercings, pets, music tastes of who rocks and who sucks, creative outlets…And it goes on and on.
But look at how we are the same. Every human being needs love. In fact without love, life itself cannot exist. Studies have found time and again that babies will fail to grow and thrive or even die without those kind words of assurance and gentle touch. We all need sustenance, shelter, and family. We all can become ill, injured, or healthier. We all have faces longing to be seen. We all seek a sense of worth.
We all have an immense capacity for love. Let’s honor that part of us that is the same, and maybe the petty differences will begin to fade away.