It Is Possible to Look Beyond Individual Differences

One woman’s powerful reminder that we can find common ground with people unlike us.

Photo Credit:  Anthony Carpinelli / EyeEm/Getty Images

Am I a Dreamer?

Have you ever met someone and instantly knew you were on the same wave length? It is a marvelous happening and for me it is usually an unexpected pleasure from someone I would have never thought I would connect with—AT ALL.

I met a lawyer (white, male, middle aged, Mormon from Utah) who could not be more different from me based on our personal data. Yet, when we get together 3x a year for conferences, I have some of the best conversations with him, that open my mind and my heart. I adore him—truly.

I have another friend who is an amazing immigration attorney from the Ukraine. She is a beautiful, brilliant powerhouse. Who, on the surface, I would have nothing in common. Yet, I had one of the most soul-opening conversations with her for over two hours that I keep reflecting upon and considering. She changed me.

I am sharing because these experiences fly in the face of what we are being sold in the media–the gnawing sense that we cannot find common ground anymore in this country. This belief that, I already know everything about you because of your demographics, and as such, we cannot get along.

I know others have had these amazing experiences I am describing. These opportunities to interact with folks who are completely out of their usual sphere that lead to shared kinship and blessings, but only because we all tacitly agreed to leave judgment at the door. Those are the stories I want the media to show and share!

One of my prayers is that my grandchildren (no rush, sons) will inherit a world where differences are lauded and desired. That they will not have to unlearn being judgmental or any of the great isms (i.e. racism, classism, sexism, to name a few). I want to leave my grandbabies a world where, “To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater”–Bono. But readers, HEY, we have got to get started today for their tomorrow.

I see elements of this new world order in my youngest son (he’s 20) with his array of friends. They just love each other regardless of background, sexual identification or orientation, race or ethnicity. I ENVY THEM. But I am slowly unwinding the isms from around my heart. I realize those isms, that feel like they are part of my DNA, have never brought me anything of value. So I challenge you to step out outside your bubble. Go to a different religious service (Presbyterians get done in time for brunch, I love that coming from a Baptist tradition that may or may not allow me to get my mimosa on depending on who is preaching). Attend a culturally different event. Break bread with someone different. Your hate-o-meter gets turned way down after sharing a meal with someone. Or just accept what I call a Divine Appointment with that person you did not have scheduled or want to spend time with and be uplifted because you did.

“You may say I’m a dreamer

 But I’m not the only one 

I hope someday you’ll join us. 

And the world will be as one…”

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