Recently I've had deep, respectful, meaningful conversations with some important people in my life. Even though we may all have differing views we were able to share our thoughts safely. We talked about so many issues facing our society right now, we talked about the future for our children. About fairness, love, work ethic, government, kindness - we hit it all. We were able to respond with curiosity without once descending into argument, insult or disrespect. In the end, we were still friends, love never stopped being our central bind. Once again, our connections were deepened through sharing.
I am not sure how the others involved left feeling but for me there was a definite shift. Sharing our differing, or even similar, views challenged me to ask myself why I was answering the way I was, what are my reasons for feeling that way? What experiences have I had that lead me to think this?
I find it astonishing how my answers would shift "in a perfect world" or if those weren't "the rules." I always talk about living like love and making decisions based on what love would do but these conversations really made me wonder if the position I held was really the position love would hold. Do I allow currently existing systems to excuse my desire and commitment to live like love? Is it still living like love if it is lived within the confines of some system set in place? Does living like love mean you have to push for change when the system doesn't seem to fit?
I am not suggesting that we get rid of laws and live without regulation, and I am not suggesting that we've got it all wrong. I am simply holding myself accountable.
I don't know the answers but I did come to some small resolve. Decisions that I make and positions that I choose are based on love - but many different types of love. Is this decision based on love of country? Love of my family? Love for my neighbours? Love for humanity in general? Love of safety? Love of security? Love of life? The context of so many issues discussed mattered - as context should. And for me, each issue could be traced to a type of love.
Like I mentioned - I haven't quite landed on the answer - maybe I never will. All I know is that for me, living like love is a commitment. And for me, it means treating others the way I'd like to be treated. It means caring for the collective whole. It means living in such a way that others are encouraged to be kind, be gentle, be loving. It means having choices, working hard for things we believe in and it means that everyday the world becomes a little bit better.
So, to Barbara and to Brandy: thank you for taking the time to have conversations with me. Thank you for listening without judgement, for sharing without fear and for accepting. I hope that you recognize the impact that a respectful conversation can have and I hope that you will continue to encourage these conversations amongst people. As two humans who guide the future, I couldn't be more grateful that you've chosen to open minds to ideas, to conversation, to kindness, acceptance, differing opinions and to love.