Facing a blank wall, what do I see in the emptiness as my mind chatters on and on about trivia of the day, expressions of annoyance at the latest diatribe by right wing talk show attack mongrels and left wing pundits? Everything so bound up in either/or, us/them, the mentality of duality that sees anything outside of its own view as evil or wrong. And in life, the extraordinary truth is that this cannot stand. It erupts, disrupts, and causes splintering in the fabric because there is no accommodation for another view or vantage point of a larger truth.
We can each only see a portion of something bigger than ourselves. I am limited by where I stand and what is in front of me. I can turn 360 degrees, but my scope of vision is determined by where I am located. At the base of the mountain, I see dirt and trees and little else. At the top of the mountain, I have a vaster view, but still I am limited by the nature of my singularity and upon what ground I stand, where I am born, what culture I am from, and the gender I inhabit. It isn’t like being able to zoom out on Google Earth and see the whole planet as a passerby. We see what is here and now as the reality of our time and place. And yet, we tend not to give credibility to anyone else’s time and place viewpoint.
The woman in Iran or the Balinese fisherman – the Russian ballerina and the Cuban immigrant - they see things from a perspective framed by their experience – and how can it be otherwise? Yet, in each of our diverse backgrounds there is a beautiful tapestry that we can weave. Each of us has a thread to contribute to something more stunning than our single viewpoint. If we would allow for our stories to emerge and our vantage points to be heard, we could possibly create a world in which we are all welcome and where we would all like to live and thrive and share our resources.
Without allowing for the differences that are intrinsic to our lives, we limit creation. Yet, in creation there is no one-way. There is no one form of weather pattern that touches all the planet at the same time. When I see daylight, those halfway around the world see night. Are they right to say that it is night, and I am wrong to say it is day? Does their truth negate mine, and vice versa? Of course not. Yet, we debate endlessly over whose God is the real and only God. We war over cultural customs and gender differences, and all the other isms and opposites that small minds cannot accept or allow because those differences ask each of us to step out of our comfort zone – out of our familiar patterns and life view to recognize something more as being a way of life.
It doesn’t have to be THE way, nor should it. One form of flower covering the entire earth would be monotonous. One species, one gender, one food choice – we would be bored by the repetition of sameness. And when we limit the sharing of beliefs or ways of being, we are boring. We become parrots of what has gone before, biased into submission, and the end result is a world that splinters and withers in potential. All the talent, creativity and possibility is squandered by non-allowance, and each of us is diminished as a result.
It’s time to become one world - time to become fully human – to see the gift in our variance, and to speak with one another, not posture with enmity in mindless rhetoric. We can bridge the gaping holes that divide us by weaving our tapestry one to the other. We can start simply, finding a point upon which we can agree, by sharing the fact that we are human, that we have children, and then showing pictures of our family and discussing our hopes for them and ourselves. We can describe how we came to believe our beliefs and the foods we eat and the customs we have established, and through this we will become aware of another’s point of view. It will not diminish us; it will enrich us. And then, we can allow for our differences and gradually, gradually hold out a candle to one another that we light in friendship and compassion. Then as we eliminate the gaping gulf of unknowing between us, humanity can come together to celebrate life.
It all begins with allowing our differences. It’s time.