I was awake in the wee hours of the morning today and never fell back asleep. I was thinking about a loved one. Someone who is going through an incredibly difficult and dark time in her life. Sometimes it feels relentless to me, so I can't really imagine how she feels.
As I lay in bed I was struck by the truth of how little separates a happy existence from one filled with despair. A few mistakes or wrong choices. A misstep here or misplaced trust there. And yet, when compared side by side it can seem that the chasm or cliff dividing us is huge - all of the advantages bestowed upon one life a mountain beside the valley of neglect and poverty in another.
It's definitely not fair.
Even if a person is in their situation largely due to their own "choices". Even if they "did it to them-self". Even if it is up to them to make the changes that need to occur to turn their life around.
What if everything we thought we knew was in fact not true?
"Milk does a body good."
What if it doesn't?
"People will never learn if we don't teach them."
What if they will? What if teaching isn't what we think it is?
"Kids (and adults!) need tough love to straighten themselves out."
What if they they don't? Or what if "tough love" is something very different than we think?
Take any belief you hold very dear. The ones that you KNOW are absolutely the truth. Pick the juiciest most controversial issue that comes to mind - abortion, vaccination, war, welfare, healthcare, co-sleeping or screen time (ha!)... Hold your belief in your mind and heart. Now flip it around and pretend you believe the opposite.
Someone, somewhere, does. It's absolutely mind blowing, I know.
But what if we tried to put ourselves into that person's shoes. To see what they see. To live what they have lived. To open our hearts to a person whom we feel hatred for and try to let love flow over and through us instead.
We might not change our minds, but we might just change the world.
I think your last sentence is powerful stuff, for sure! I often spend years coming to conclusions on things. I believe what I believe for good reasons and it is oh-so-easy to forget that people have wrestled through the very same questions and come to a completely different place. If we can learn to be passionate in our beliefs AND respectful of those on a different path... it would truly be Heaven on earth!
I know Elizabeth - it can be so difficult how anyone could come to different conclusions - especially when you're (I'm!) right!! ha.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.