Nobody tells us when we’re growing up how much of a struggle life can be when we get older.
The news can give us some inkling of the complexity and the pain involved in being human. As does simply functioning on a day-to-day basis.
I went out with a new friend last night. We were talking about how difficult it can be just getting along with the people we love.
We speak so much about being kind to our enemies. About peace on earth. About pacifism.
What about simply being kind to ourselves and to the friends and acquaintances we deal with every day? I don’t know about you, but I find even this to be a constant challenge.
What about the woman in line at the supermarket, who can’t find her credit card when we’re in a rush? Or the homeless person who gazes at us in desperation, and we look away? Or the person who takes two parking spaces, when there are no more left?
I’m not claiming to have arrived at this state where I feel pure compassion for the people around me.
I have a long way to go. But it seems more realistic to me to focus on our own reactions in uncomfortable situations with those who are different from us, or antagonize us, then to expect enemies to understand one another. This vision of everyone embracing each other and singing Bob Marley tunes together is very unrealistic at this point in time.
It’s got to start somewhere. Why not with the Trump supporter who lives down the street? Or the Mormon who knocks on your door? Or your cantankerous next door neighbor?
We are complex and messy. We come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences.
Life is a real struggle for most. If we cannot see the humanity in the irritating people that we come into contact with, how can we even begin to expect there to be no war? How can we preach peace to countries with opposing ideologies?
Seems like quite a jump to me.