Practice wanting for others what you want for yourself by being Christlike rather than Christian, Mohammed-like rather than a Muslim, and Buddha-like rather than a Buddhist.
Happy Boxing Day…..or, if that’s not your thing, Happy Monday. Could be that I should be saying any number of things to you in December. This is a month filled with a variety of celebrations, and a variety of belief systems associated with those special days.
Unfortunately, it seems that in our quest to make our world politically correct, we’ve become uncomfortable with celebrating that we are all in fact different, or believe in different things. We’ve turned what should be a celebration of kindness into a debate. And I mean both sides. I’ve heard from people who don’t celebrate Christmas tell me it is offensive. And I’ve listened to people who are frustrated about not being able to say Merry Christmas, explaining it is the reason for the season.
I vowed at the beginning of the season I was not going to step into this….debates are not my thing. But, after receiving several messages from people, I wanted to put down my thoughts….
I ask you. Who said we can’t be different?
I wondered where the origins of this debate began, and it turns out, it wasn’t with you and I. This all started with government agencies and retail establishments trying to be religiously neutral. Did you know that?
And how’s that working out folks?
This is about a choice that we make, not as Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists or atheists. It is about a choice we make as human beings.
We choose to be a people who divides or unites. A people of judgment or acceptance.
Look to the history books. Look at what happens when we, because of differences in race, religion or belief, start to isolate or segregate.
I was raised Catholic and I believe in Christmas. You may not. It’s all good. Next week, I can promise you I will being quoting the wisdom of Pema Chodron, a buddhist nun. As I grieved the loss of my child, one of the books that I held onto closely was written by a Jewish Rabbi. One of my dearest friends is a Muslim.
My point? We can all learn from each other. Our differences, if we embrace them instead of fearing them, make us stronger. So, to dismiss or criticize something or someone because they are different….you are only limiting yourself. You are preventing yourself from connecting to the universal language of love. No matter what your rationale.
Look at our differences as the rough edges of ourselves….sometimes, when we rub up on the rough edges of others, it is abrasive, and different and we don’t understand. So we push back, to get them out of our personal space. We do the same to others, with our own edges infringing upon them.
Now, we could all take our cue from the executives in government or retail who worry about the optics of a situation and how it will make them look in the eyes of their consumer. We can try to smooth off the rough edges of life, and make everyone religiously neutral.
But what if instead, what if we celebrated those edges? What if we realized that without them, with everything sanded down and neutral, we would not be able to break through old belief systems that limit us? What if we looked at our edges and realized that you could learn from me and I could learn from you? What if that periodic friction created by the sometimes rough edges of difference eventually molds us together?
Maybe I am a Pollyanna. Who knows….but I just think that as long as we are talking about our differences, we are missing the fact that those tiny little differences are nothing compared to all of our similarities…..we are all part of the human race.
Have a fantastic day….whatever your season or celebration.
Today I am thankful for the billions of individual fingerprints, individual hearts beating celebrating the universal holiday….life.