Sunday Story…What to say
What is there to say in light of the past week’s incidents? I don’t have all facts that I do know. I heard a lot of theories and opinions about what happened and why. Most of that information is about a useful as teats on a boar (to dredge one of the many country aphorisms I know). It is said by someone with an ax to grind, a position to defend, or a pulpit to pound. They aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
How many of those talking heads, pundits and nattering nabobs (thanks Spiro) would be willing to set aside their opinions and positions for an honest intellectual discussion on the subject? The answer, I suspect, is not many. Too many people are overly invested in their positions, in being right.
How many of us are willing to do the research, winnow out the facts, to really look deeply into the causes of what happened? Honestly, the answer is not many of us. It will require a setting aside of years of cultural conditioning, societal pressures and our own deep prejudices. What it comes down to is this: We would rather be right than be connected. This insistence creates an immovable place. We will be unable to see any other point of view or embrace any other position. This separates us from our fellow humans and allows me to be insulated from their lives and suffering. And yes, this life, for all of us, has suffering. It is part of the human condition.
We will need to decide to be connected. We will need to be willing to set aside our need to be right and allow ourselves to see the other as ourselves. Would you, right now, be willing to trade places with a black American, a gay Arab, or a Syrian refugee? I do not know what it means to be any of those 3 people. I was not born into those lives. What I do know is their lives are immeasurably more difficult than mine. What I do know is that they are human. And as humans their suffering is my suffering. If I, through empathy, understanding, and honest communication can come into connection with those who are unlike me, then I may be able to ease both their and my suffering.
To paraphrase the Sufi poet, Rumi:
There is a field beyond right and wrong.
I will meet you there.
Let’s stop being right and get connected.