We’re so easily swayed by our thoughts, eh? Okay, well, I am. I am swayed by my own thoughts. But then again, I’m right so what’s the problem?
We’re immersed in a time of increasing contrasts. Much is made about our differences in opinions of late. Disparity increases with each passing day and as it rises, civility falls. But, opposing views and actions are not new things. Golly, not new at all. Consider the Spanish Inquisition and before that the Crusades. I mean seriously, nobody seemed to give two hoots about détente. But those barbaric, ruthless conflicts happened a very long time ago and we’ve evolved – ahem – haven’t we? We’ve instituted rule of law and international courts. Goodness knows we’d never let anything like World War II happen again. Sigh. Lovely conveniences like central heating and electricity have warmed our outsides but failed to warm us inside with the light of understanding. We remain a bit cold and seem to care excessively, believe too strongly, in our opinions. After all, we’re right, yeah?
The path I cut, the one that landed me squarely where I was only a few months ago, was a long and winding one with enough detours to keep the trip interesting. It started with a clumsy jump off the proverbial cliff, and let me assure you, the initial fall was superbly scary but bloody invigorating. Landing, not so much. It was bumpy. Hindsight’s provided some wisdom on that score, however. I could take a dive this very morning and finish with aplomb. Am I getting ready to leap again, you ask? Well, kinda sort of, but that’s not why I mention it. I broach the subject to give weight to the topic at hand which is, opinions. In the opinion of the majority, I am nuts, and we all know how harshly crazy people are judged. And while some assessments of me could well be spot on, and while my behaviour when rude or mean, selfish or careless is inexcusable, I am, forever and always, a human being who cares deeply, struggles to hold on to love, and is doing her best to get by. In other words, despite insane conduct on occasion, I am a woman of flesh and blood and bone whose heart beats as any other’s does. If I am not okay in your eyes, it matters not. Furthermore, if I am not okay in your eyes, why is that and what does it say about you? What is it about me that makes you so blessedly uncomfortable? Would you kill me because of it?
I’m comfortable (finally) with who I am now and use the personal analogy above for one purpose – to drive home what’s going on under our noses. It’s time to get off our fences and stand, not against, but FOR – for peace, for understanding, for diversity, and for communication. I’ve discovered, know first-hand, the problems that stem from holding to our standard of okay-ness because the measure we use can be way too limiting. Sure, some folks are open-minded types who roll with difference, but there are those whose fear of difference makes them measly, incapable of allowing others any semblance of equality. Furthermore, that fear I note drives some to hold tight to their “rightness”. The penultimate problem is that in order for someone to be right, someone else must be wrong. The ultimate issue? Someone rises above, assumes a position of power-over leaving the other feeling unsettled, and well, just plain wrong. Therein lay the final straw.
I am swayed by my own thoughts but am not right. I am not wrong, either. I have an opinion is all, and it should matter only to me. My heart and gut will direct me. If my opinion is a good one, I’ll feel good – feel better – about myself. Fruit will be born. If not, I simply need to change my opinion. That’s it and that’s enough.
Today my wish is not a simple one, not that my wishes ever are. However, today is a throwback day for me. Events across the United States recall a time of revolution when I marched for an end to the war – a war filled with blood and contention. The US is at war with itself all these decades late and I can only wish for wisdom to prevail and love to conquer. But there is another story that broke me open today. It comes from France and speaks of violence shaped by a difference of opinion and what it means to act as a guardian no matter the cost. I refer to the police officer (gendarme) whose actions saved others lives but cost him his. Yes, he is a hero but so are the young people and their supporters walking in cities across the States. Both actions symbolise what it means to act for others with a compassionate heart. Both stories speak of enlightened responses meant to help ease suffering and bring about a society that supports freedom through safety and acceptance. Something’s happening here and, in my opinion, it’s marvellous.