One of the opportunities available to us right now is the option to see each other differently. I live in a pretty conservative community and suprisingly there is political diversity even where I live. I have friends I love, know and trust, friends I know I could depend on. If any of us needed each other in an emergency we would show up. I feel pretty confident that these friends would probably share their last loaf of bread if the world caved in, or at least I trust they might.
I had an exchange with one of those friends who happens to hold politically opposing views to me. It was an honest, respectful exchange (as I have had with some of you on this forum). But as I lay awake at 3:00 am something occurred to me. It is critical at this junction in time and space to trust each other, even as we disagree. We can voice our opinion without defiling someone who believes or feels the same way. We can love them and respect them as we always have, before hateful disagreeing became it’s own pandemic.
In like-minded faiths and communities around the world I can pretty much guarantee that the person sitting next to you does not hold every belief you hold. Whether it is how their faith carries them, what their political views are, or whether they eat meat or not. The scary thing about being part of a tribe is that we feel unsafe in our differences. It’s that nagging feeling when you know you might need to eat some chicken so you do it when no one is looking; or when you sense you need to be vaccinated and either don’t get one or lie about the fact you did; or when you love someone of the same gender and suffer because think you will be rejected by the people you love. We are terrified to be different and so pretend sameness to feel safe.
The world has become filled with vitriol and assumptions that if we don’t think alike then we hate the other person. That is a completly false narrative. We might learn something from someone who thinks differently; we might shift; we might become more comfortable in our beliefs. But we might find respect for each other again. On the other side of this, we might be much better as a human being in a world where there is no one else like us … because truly, we are all unique, right down to the smallest cell in our body. That is the miracle of life, that is why we are here.