I haven’t written in a while. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. On the contrary, it’s been hard not to speak out with everything that has been happening in our world lately. I guess I have been waiting, biding my time until it felt right to open up and share my thoughts. Everyone has something to say these days. Everyone has an opinion and we’re becoming less afraid to share what is on our minds and in our hearts. This has been a double-edge sword but one I think that’s worth wielding.
When we speak our minds, and put our truth out there, there is always the risk of alienation. We often sit by, quietly listening to the opinions of others while we shout from the inside all that we agree or disagree with. We choke on our words, unsure if the risk of sharing what we feel and believe is truly worth the potential consequences. In today’s political and cultural climate, a strong word can build a bridge or tear one down. When we use our words to tear down bridges we create bubbles of isolation and separation. We each become our own island, defending our thoughts and beliefs with the same conviction of someone whose land is being threatened. We see bridges as a way for enemies to get to us rather than a way to reach out to those around us. Our bubbles become more about believing we are “right” than about discovering the truth, or being open to learn. We stop listening when we hear something we don’t like. We shut out anything that doesn’t fit into the bubble we have created. We build barricades around our hearts which, although offer us protection from the “bad”, also keep out a great deal of the “good.”
I think it’s time we start bursting our own bubbles and start rebuilding our bridges. I’m not asking you to toss aside your own beliefs and values in order to please other people or make false alliances. I’m asking everyone to pause, listen, and learn. We are not going to agree on everything. In some cases, we are going to be diametrically opposed to one another but, that said, it doesn’t mean we can’t listen to one another and learn from one another. Even if, in the end, we still don’t agree, at least we can walk away with a better understanding of one another and probably with a lot less assumptions than we had going in. We can begin moving forward, even in small baby steps, rather than stubbornly standing our ground just to say “we are right and you are wrong.” This manic and desperate need to be “right” and to “win” is holding our nation and the world hostage. Is anyone really winning if, in the end, so many have to lose so much? Is being “right” worth it if it means being unkind and, at times, downright hateful?
There is no denying the great divide in this country… in this world, even. And, I know for some, there are days it seems like a chasm that will never be crossed again. Please don’t give up. Don’t give up on one another. Don’t give up on the belief in the goodness of humanity. Yes, often it takes a tragedy for people to come together but I think the times we are living in now qualify as tragedy enough for us to put aside our differences, to find some common ground, and to begin healing. We are imperfect creatures, all; but we try. We try to be the best versions of ourselves. We try to make the best of a bad situation. I believe that every soul, deep down, wants the same thing… peace. We want peace for ourselves and our loved ones. We want peace for the world so we don’t have to live in fear. If we can just remember that when we disagree with someone, or when the world seems to be losing its mind… At the center of it all we want peace. Going forward I am going to make attempts to bring peace into the world, a little at a time.
If I can ease another’s pain, even a fraction; if I can offer a shoulder or a helping hand; if I can smile and nod in acknowledgement of someone who is visibly seeking to be seen; if I can do anything to make my surroundings a little brighter… and if we all do this as often as we can, the world will become a brighter and more loving place. Yes, we must fight for our rights and we must make sure the people at the top can hear us shouting, but it is far easier to be heard standing on a bridge than it is sitting in a bubble.
Building my bridge…