No, I’m not insulting you……
We are all together. It’s a noisy world. We’re surrounded by people, by thoughts, by opinions, by music, by talking heads, by noisy neighbors, by nosy neighbors, by cooperative co-workers and by not so kind co-workers.
There’s Twitter and it’s infamous “break it down into 140 character sound bites.” There are “Tweeters” who think that because hundreds or thousands “follow” them that gives them the right to act and talk like they are authorities about everything. Even when they aren’t.
There are politicians blasting comedy TV shows rather than worrying about real things that matter. We have politicians taking a stand against other opinions – but only on Twitter where it’s hard to have a discussion due to the 140 character limit. We have comedians using Twitter to get thousands of people to share stupid, awkward or goofy things they or others have done.
We know what is going on all over the world if not in real time, at least very close to real time. We feel it is our right to argue with those who think differently than we do.
We feel it is our right to tell others when they are wrong. Or when we think they are wrong because they differ from us.
We think it’s okay to dislike and throw “social media” stones at people who don’t agree with you.
We think it’s okay to dislike someone just because you don’t understand their life, their decisions, their choices.
We could all come up with a very long list of the type of issues we’re talking about – religion, race, culture, gender, religion, politics – those are just a few of them.
And so we end up with a society where we are all alone, together.
We’re alone – there are very few people we can find who think just like us.
Why? Because there is so much noise that it drowns out those who can provide the support of friendship and community in a way that makes the world a better place.
Because there is so much noise that sounds authoritative that people don’t know what to think.
Because people are scared of taking a stand they fear a backlash. Unfortunately, many times in the last month and more, that has been more true than false.
We’re alone together.
You don’t understand what your neighbor’s life is like. Because you haven’t taken the time to listen and talk with them.
You don’t understand the struggles of an adoptive family dealing with trauma and reactive attachment disorder. Because you haven’t taken the time to listen to your adoptive family friends.
You don’t understand the man from church who is suffering from depression. Because you haven’t asked him how he’s doing – and really asked and meant it.
You don’t understand the fear of “DWB” that People of Color fear – because you haven’t talked to them about it.
We are alone together. Because we spend too much time talking and not enough time listening to what others think, what they want, what they are afraid of.
We are alone together because it’s easier that way. Us vs. them is easier than trying to figure out what “them” really are like.
It’s easier to criticize a parent with a trauma challenged child than it is to understand what their needs are.
It’s easier to criticize someone who differs on their views of gender than it is to accept them as your neighbors, your co-worker, your fellow church member.
It’s easier to criticize someone who is protesting police violence as disrespectful when you don’t take the time to realize that they are doing that because they feel like they have no other choice.
In this really big and very small world.
What would it be like if we all reached out to someone and said, “How’s it going? Really?” “Honestly, I’m not just asking a trite question, I really want to know?”
And then take the time to listen.
We could take steps towards not being so alone, together.