Embracing Our Differences
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to China and while there I visited an elderly residential facility where I met a woman in her 90s who did not speak in English. I did not speak Mandarin. Yet, we bonded deeply with each other during my short visit. We connected based on our shared humanity and were deeply moved by our connection.
We did not let our limitations, fear of making a mistake, or discomfort keep us from embracing our differences. We, however, would have missed out on a soul to soul connection if we had not stretched ourselves and stayed open to making a connection.
Each of us enters a room or situation from different places. Even within our own families, we are different, based on the place of our birth, the order of our birth and even the time of our birth. We come with different beliefs, different lifestyles, and even different spiritual and religious practices.
The Consequences of Not Embracing Differences
Being different and not appreciating our differences, let alone the differences, of others can lead to negative even deadly consequences.
Being different can lead to hostility and resentment with peers, colleagues, and even our families, which of course can lead to conflict.
Being different can make us fearful of one another, fearful of moving to the next level in our own lives, fearful of taking a stand, and fearful of confronting systems like racism.
I believe that our problems with being different are problems because we don't embrace our differences.
The Possibilities of Embracing Differences
It is important to recognize that our differences make us stronger. We must understand that we cannot exist without one another, that our world is made richer by sharing our differences, that it takes our differences to help us figure out how to make this world go round (that's why we say "two heads are better than one").
To embrace our differences means that we learn to humble ourselves before the Sacred, understanding that regardless of our status we are no better than others.
To embrace our differences means to respect one another as individuals, as people who have thoughts, feelings, goals, trials & tribulations, loved ones, and simply blood running through our veins.
This is only a beginning to learning to love and embrace one another.
Are you willing to give it a try?
Find out more about how to embrace differences with me in an upcoming dismantling racism program or grab a free copy of my “6 ESSENTIALS FOR DEALING WITH THE DIFFICULTIES OF DISMANTLING RACISM” download here: https://www.sacredintelligence.com/dismantlingracism.
Join me and my friend Kim Fuller for an evening of Real Talk: A Conversation and Workshop on "White Women's Tears" and "Black Women's Anger." We openly talk about racial dynamics, assumptions, and stories that keep us stuck in the racial divide. Grab all of the details here.
In service and in gratitude.
Rev. Dr. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery