“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Unless you have been living as a hermit high upon a mountaintop you surely must have noticed the divisiveness in our country.  I’m afraid this is somewhat of a common theme for me, but I feel that making a difference is part of my responsibility.  I may be naïve, I may be overly optimistic with my influence, but I desperately feel like I need to go down swinging.

The constant attempt to divide each other is prevalent in social media as well as traditional media.  We are placed in convenient little boxes in order to more easily be manipulated:  Conservative – liberal, red state – blue state, straight – LGBTQ, victim – victor, intolerant – tolerant (just kidding, no one is tolerant anymore).  I suppose these divisions have always existed; however, it seems that the lines have been drawn darker and the importance of them elevated.

I am tired of it, and I imagine you are too.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone believed the same way that you do? In an answer, no.  It wouldn’t be great at all.  If we all believed the same way there would be no growth, no development.  In a word- boring.

I had a friend who would use the Mackinac Bridge as an example; without the tension the bridge would collapse.  We need the differences and we need each other, including our various beliefs.  What I believe we need to do is try harder to hear one another and respect the views of the other person.  Just as important, we need to NOT “take the bait” when someone dangles it in front of us.  They may dangle a juicy piece of controversy right in front of our eyes.  It may be easy to pounce on it, grip it between our clenched teeth and shake it from side to side like a dog with a toy.  But I would suggest that we resist the temptation and rise above it.

Those of you who know me well, know just how desperately self-righteous I can become when confronted with an issue worthy of my righteousness.  It is not an appealing feature of mine, but one that exists none the less.  I am trying to resist reacting and attempting a more modest approach, but sometimes my true nature takes over and I am powerless against it.  I am trying to emulate the words of Gandhi and be the change I wish to see.  I will try to be understanding, gentle, compassionate and non-judgmental; all the things I would like to see in the world.

I am but a small voice in a noisy world, but even my small voice has the ability to effect change in the world around me.  I am looking for brave volunteers who will follow the lead of Gandhi and be a catalyst for change.