Remember THAT Facebook post from THAT “friend”, who expressed THAT opinion about THAT issue, making you say, “THAT’S it, I’m unfriending them!”. I’m sure you do. We all do. But, what do we do, when we can’t unfriend them because they are family?
Last week, I spent 40 hours driving across 10 states with my older brother, in one moving truck. It was an experience that changed my life. It was unplanned and last minute. And I am so glad I decided to take the trip. You see, my brother and I are polar opposites. I love to talk, he doesn’t speak. I love people, he not so much. I’m a conservative, he’s a liberal, at least that’s what I discovered. He owns chickens, I don’t. I have three boys, he has three girls. The list could continue, but I’ll stop there.
Needless to say, our lifelong brotherhood and friendship has proven to be counter intuitive. We are indeed polar opposites, but we have always been best friends. We balance each other and that has been our foundation for 38 years.
Sadly, I haven’t been in my brother’s life as much over the past 6 years. He moved from Indiana to California to Indiana to Georgia and now he was on his way back to California. I did what any good brother would do and volunteered to drive with him across the good old U.S. of A. and help him move.
As I said earlier my brother doesn’t like talking, accept to me. We’ve always been able to talk, and talk we did for about 38 of our 40 hr drive. We talked about life. We talked about kids. We talked about marriage. We talked about sex. We talked about politics. We talked about global financial markets. We talked about conspiracy theories. We talked about God. We talked and we argued, we yelled, we cussed, we passionately disagreed. I would say that on at least half the topics we discussed our beginning viewpoints were opposing.
If you are locked in a moving truck for 40 hours with someone you deeply love, you have an opportunity. You allow disagreement to produce division and detachment or you choose to humble yourself and love. If love and understanding are your highest law, you can actually arrive at a new perspective. Allowing love to press you out of your comfort zone on many of life’s most pressing and passionate subjects, can allow you to discover a very powerful realization. “I might not know, what I think I know, as well as, I think I know it.” You can sum up this sentence in one word. HUMILITY.
When love produces humility, it’s amazing what is accomplished. I know it was for my brother and me. Do I agree with everything he thinks? No. Does he agree with everything I think? No. Do we both have a slightly different, more complete, thought about many subjects? Yes. Do these subjects really matter in life? Yes! Are we more committed to loving each other well, even if we disagree? Yes.
Our world loves to divide us. Black, White, Catholic, Protestant, Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, Republican, Gay, Straight, Rich, Poor. All these labels designed to divide us. We eat up our divisive, proud, hateful, ignorant “talking points” and spew out our version of the truth. The more isolated from other viewpoints we become, the more ignorantly arrogant we become. The more arrogant, the less loving, the less loving the more divided.
I’m not saying you have to drive 40 hours, through 10 states, in one truck, with your brother to discover this truth. But, you might consider it?
Here’s something to ponder. What if you lovingly choose to humble yourself and seek to understand, before you seek to be understood the next time you disagree with someone? What if humility based on love became your foundation for disagreement and understanding? If we could live, love, and learn in this manner, I’m starting to think that many of our world’s greatest problems might actually get solved.
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