Ok just finished a book all in one day. The beginning few chapters were hilarious! About halfway through I realized I don’t have much in common at all with this writer. I was intrigued at times and sometimes bored. Many of our beliefs differ. I found her shrill at times which is the title of the book so, duh. But she kept me laughing. Interspersed with very serious topics, her humor reared its head and I remembered that we have that in common. Funny breaks down barriers. I stuck with it and learned some things.
Three chapters in I posted a picture of her book on my Instagram page and I tagged her. I was giddy with excitement about a book that had me snorting and cry/laughing/cackling. Then I imagined her seeing the tag and reading my post. She doesn’t believe in God and I have this image of her looking at my page, rolling her eyes and dismissing me. I know I shouldn’t assume but let’s be honest, I almost did the same to her.
I realize that I have in the past turned off shows or stopped reading books or dismissed whole entire people because I can’t relate or I don’t agree. But then nothing changes. I think a lot of us are doing this. Sitting in our corner with our fists raised and our mouthpiece in. It’s people on both sides of every issue. We are getting advice from the people on our “team”, whispering in our ear and pumping us up for the next round in the boxing ring. Gross. I don’t want to participate in that.
I have a new vision of the ring. Two women in the middle. They’ve never met before. Let’s say it’s me and you. Sitting on the ground. Truth telling. Without censor. Laughing and sharing stories. Listening. Witnessing. Seeing each other. Allowing disagreements and different points of view to just sit there and hold space. Safe. Not needing to be fixed or changed. Just hanging out there with us among the laughing and the tears and the awkward silences. All the history and experience and suffering and joy. All of the stories of love and loss. The challenges and choices and education and mistakes and spirituality and baggage and fears and wisdom just swirling there around us grounding us in truth. Because it’s all true.
My story is no less true than yours and your opinion is no less weighty than mine. Neither of us is disqualified.
I will keep listening. Even when I want to run and hide in my corner with my people because it feels safer there. Even if your words shock me or my stories make you cry. Even when you are uncomfortable and want to run or I am judgmental and tempted to give advice. Let’s not.
I picture us making it through all the rounds. No knock out attempt. Just two women holding each other’s arms up in the end. Endurance athletes.
©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved