The rise of nationalism and xenophobia in many countries around the world vexes and perplexes me. While the focus of this blog has been to share some of the joy of discovering that which is different … the true wonder of the world lies in the profound depth of that which is common and similar.
No matter where I go, I see the common threads that tie our stories into one despite the differences. I see are men and women…working….to provide food and shelter for themselves and their loved ones. Hoping for adequate remuneration – possibly even fulfillment. I see …friends…lovers…colleagues – they talk, they laugh, they cry. Sometimes they play the guitar…and sing..or dance and everyone joins in…sharing a moment or more of joy. They share food and drink – companionship really. I see parents and children – families. Snuggling. Scolding. Smiling. Embracing the world together – teaching and learning. I see the wounded and the weary. Begging with little hope or dignity. Because they have nothing else. I see my brothers and sisters – our similarities transcending nationality, skin color, religious preference, gender, sexual orientation, and gross economic disparity.
And…unfortunately, I see differences and division. They dominate the news. Manufactured. By policy. By politics. To divide and distract. For power and for gain. Let’s re-focus. Embrace our shared struggles and desires. Our loves and longings. Our universal journey.
This is why I am challenging my friends and followers to walk a mile in the shoes of someone “different”. Not a literal mile…but rather, a mental one. All it takes is a bit of time. A few minutes with a stranger or acquaintance who is not like you. Someone you would not normally interact with. Maybe (if you’re feeling ambitious) someone whose differences challenge your worldview. Leave your comfort zone. Share a cup of coffee. A smile. A conversation. Ask about their life. Their day. Where they live. Who they are headed home to. Ask about their parents. Ask about their children. Ask about their journey. Hear their heartbreak. Hear their hope. Hear their joy.
And when you are done, please consider sharing your story in the comments section or on the social media platform of your choice.
Peace and Love,