Thursday, December 1, 2011
I have my own powerful and personal reactions to the presence of the Other. Growing up in a reserved household, I experience great shock and dismay when confronted with a dramatic emotional blast. I may be similarly stunned when someone says or does something that confronts me with the reality of how unlike me they are. In both these instances I am simply struck dumb, in such a state of shock that I can barely move, let alone speak.
Given these everyday conversational hits and misses, and our likely very normal reactions when we experience the Other, it is perhaps not surprising that we find churches banning interracial couples from membership, states creating restrictive laws about immigration, and a Congress that is so polarized they can't be civil to one another, let alone get any work done.
As we move into the holiday season, I wonder what might happen if each of us sat in the presence of the Other, with all of our differences and disagreements, armed only with a sense of curiosity and a desire to understand? Earlier today I found myself humming "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me". Perhaps if we could all endure the unknown, the differences, just a moment longer, a bit more light could, and would, come into the world.