We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

June 1, 2020

After several days of being close and watching peaceful demonstrations and protesting, and rioting, looting, and violence, I feel compelled to share what I hope is evident in my daily actions.

I’m a fan of all people, cultures, and experiences. My biases are toward assholes and unkind people; justice seems obvious until the wheels fall off processes that don’t fairly deliver what I’ve experienced.  I’m aware my experiences are different; it is saddening to see what action it’s taking for the pain to find a voice. I hope we have leaders of all kinds, shapes, and sizes rise to help make sense of the pain, loss, fear, and marginalized experiences and feelings in this world.

Image credit: unfoldanswers.com

My father served in the Army in Vietnam during the most violent period; we only briefly discussed this period in his life after I’d completed Army basic training. I feel he struggled almost his entire life until a few years toward the end, finding a voice for the pain he experienced in combat with violence and death. He shared how painful and dangerous it was to return to the US from a year in Vietnam. The service members returned to no fanfare; instead, they experienced protests about the war; this stayed with him. He struggled to make peace for 40 years until he found a voice for the pain.

I see a struggle for power as a core of our current distress. This power being chased and wielded I don’t endorse, I see it, acknowledge it but unequivocably will not support actions to marginalize any class, gender, or race, this is the opposite of kindness.

My prayers are for calm, healing, and making sense of what doesn’t make sense. My hope is for positive and truthful actions; only then we understand the divide, the gaps we need to discuss. How I’ve learned to work through the toughest of situations is communication, kind, thoughtful, and sometimes fired up discussion. I work through my challenges; this is living a life. Yet the problems won’t define me; they’re in the end going to refine me.

The world isn’t about I or me; it’s about us, and we. Several years ago, when in my pain, it was told to me: focus on the similarities, not the differences to find a sense of something. It’s more apparent than ever how life and society start falling apart when focusing on how we are different versus commonalities.

Human Family
I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

~Maya Angelou