Not too long ago we were gathered at the home of my cousin when the election came up. Now, I come from a large, loud and proud Irish family. I have one aunt in particular who is extremely passionate about politics. She is smart and knows what she is talking about. She has strong opinions and is proud to share them. Sometimes we share the same opinions and sometimes we don’t. There were a number of people there with varying opinions. Things started to get heated. Everyone was talking over each other and not listening at all. People were frustrated. I’m sure my husband was thinking, “How ’bout them Yankees?” 😉
It got me thinking, isn’t it through our differences that we are able to develop understanding, empathy, and curiosity? They should be used as tools to educate and unite us. Unfortunately, more often than not they are avoided altogether. We exist in a disconnected state of overload that makes it difficult to remain open and ready to learn from each other.
That day at my cousin’s house my aunt stepped in and challenged us to try harder. Instead of sweeping the important and the messy under the rug she . She reminded us that, not only is it inevitable that we all have different opinions, it’s essential that we use them to learn from each other. She then encouraged us to discuss and debate respectfully with open minds and hearts. Thank you Auntie, you don’t know this but that moment left a lasting impression on me.
We are SO distracted and consumed by our brokenness we don’t consider that everyone is broken. We pretend we don’t have the time to engage in meaningful conversations that share the pieces of our story that have lead to our brokenness and shaped our beliefs. Instead we often just regurgitate established opinions without slowing down to listen, consider, or ask questions. Surely these types of interactions don’t need our full attention and they’re not likely to cause conflict or debate. The trouble is, they won’t fuel the soul or help us grow either.
How can we appreciate the messages we are intended to receive or learn the lessons we need to grow when we are so guarded and distracted? It takes intention and courage to resist the quick judgement of another.
I believe making the time to understand the story of another human being is the missing ingredient to finding the synergy of our brokenness. In the end we are all broken in one way or another. Some believe it is our brokenness that sets us apart. I encourage you to entertain the notion that it is our brokenness that is meant to bring us together.