When Did So Many of Us Stop Really Seeing Each Other?
I sometimes find myself scratching what little hair I have left when I listen to the news anymore. I am fascinated by the heavens, and I watch and read anything I can get my hands on about outer space. We are at point in our history where we are rapidly expanding our knowledge of the worlds beyond ours. We just found that there is water on Mars, and we are now seeing close up photos of Pluto…just ponder for a moment on this one achievement by mankind. We launched a probe to Pluto back on January 19th, 2006 and it just reached Pluto just this past July! Pluto is three BILLION MILES from the sun!
Yet, when I turn my focus away from the heavens and return to Earth, I am saddened by our inability to see each other. How ironic, we can see the world beyond us with increasing clarity…but the people within our community? Not so much.
Oh, we “see” people…but we see them in groups. We see white. We see black. We see tan. We see Christians. We see Jews. We see Muslims. We see gay. We see straight. We see pro-life. We see pro-choice. We see Republicans. We see Democrats…liberals…conservatives…and the list goes on and on.
Don’t you just sort of cringe when you hear Black Lives Matter…followed by the obligatory All Lives Matter? Don’t you just shake your head when you hear about children being crucified for not renouncing their Christian faith? Let that really sink in…CRUSIFICTION! Isn’t that a word that should only be found in the Bible or history books? Certainly not in the same newscast as news about water on Mars!
The recent visit by the Pope to our country certainly had everyone with an agenda working overtime to spin the Pope’s every word into confirmation of his support for their particular cause. The Pope is safely back in Rome, and the talking heads are still at it trying to determine why the Pope did this or that, said this or that. Some are glad…some are sad…and some are mad. So, there are instances when we only see what we want to see.
Back in 1983, my wife and I adopted a little 6-year old girl from El Salvador. I will always remember walking past her bedroom after she had been with us for about 6 months. She was standing in front of her dresser mirror brushing her hair and singing and talking to herself. I stood in the doorway and silently watched her; thinking to myself how much she was like every other kid. From different parents, a different land, and a different culture…and yet we are the same in our humanity.
Despite our differences, we just all want the same thing. We are not as different as those who build walls to divide would like us to think. Despite the color of our skin, we all bleed red.
The older I get the more I have come to believe that the haters and the dividers aren’t trying to influence the rest of us over some grand philosophical wisdom they possess. No, it is always about power, or money, or both. If ever we could resist the temptation to follow the haters. How great would our world be if we could learn to judge others based on our own instincts about an individual instead of despising someone simply because a hater told us? None of us were born with hatred in our hearts…no, that hatred was put there by some “well-meaning” individual.
We can’t put all the blame on the haters and the dividers. We bear responsibility as well. As our parents used to tell us when we were kids, “If he (or she) told you to jump off a tall building, would you do it?” No, some of the blame is ours. We need to stop allowing others to manipulate us.
I see our low opinion of Congress as a sign of hope. Congress never seems to accomplish anything over ideological differences, yet us everyday folk work with all sorts of people of differing political persuasions and we seem to be able to put aside those political differences for the good of the company we work for. We need to pull our bullshit detectors out from under our bed, dust it off, and turn it on. We have a political season drawing near and we need to be ready to detect when we are being used for another’s gain.
I wish for one day we could see each other, and yet not see one’s faith, or race, or political affiliation, or any of the other yardsticks we measure a person, or sort them by. In some of those pictures sent back from space they showed the Earth and it makes you stop and think. Like it or not, we are all stuck on this spinning rock together. I will end with a quote from Mother Teresa, “People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centered. Love them anyways.”