I have to admit, I always get a little worried when someone starts out a conversation with words similar to “The plain truth is…”. I wonder if we will agree on what that plain truth is.
But I’m going to try it. Please realize that this is “the plain truth” from my perspective only–but I hope it might spark some thinking and much-needed dialogue.
The plain truth is that most of us live where we live and how much clothing, shelter, food, and safety we have through no initial effort of our own. We were born into specific places–with the blessings and/or challenges that surround us in those places and cultures and we have grown up to think that what we experience is normal.
For those of us who have never needed to worry about where we are going to sleep, what we are going to eat, whether we will survive this day without being shot–or raped–or assaulted in some other way, we often find ourselves thinking that people in those situations “deserve” what they are experiencing–or that they just need to pull themselves up…to work harder, to save more. Then they could live like we do.
But what if we could think–just for a few minutes–what life might be like for us if we were born into a different family…a different culture? What if we were the ones who were afraid for ourselves…our children? What if we were the ones wanting desperately to find some way for our children and grandchildren to have a better future? What if we knew that if we stayed where we were, we were facing assault or death each and every day?
Would something–anything–sound better?
The plain truth is that any of us could find ourselves in those situations.
The plain truth is that yes, there are policies that need fixing–but we are called to work together to try to find ways to make our policies work for everyone.
The plain truth is that every person–even those who look or worship differently from us…who speak different languages from us…and yes, even those who might hate us–are brothers and sisters.
The plain truth is that until we see ourselves in “the other”…until we are able to see the Divine in “the other”…until we are willing to give up some of our abundance that others might have enough…we are living in darkness.