I miss this blog. Journaling my thoughts, family updates, memories captured in story. But just as many do, I fell victim to the demands of time and unfortunately my blogging fell to the bottom of my priorities.
So much has happened in my absence, but I’ll spare you the monologue. I often tell myself that I prefer to live in the shadows and away from the spotlight. And while this might be mostly true, I would be lying to myself if I didn’t admit to my deep desire to be heard at times. To share my life experiences and to have my worldview considered. I mean…who doesn’t?
We all have ingrained in us a set of beliefs and values that are strongly informed by our life experiences and therefore we have a set of core standards that we generally maintain. And while I will always believe in the importance of holding true to what you stand for and believe in, we mustn’t forget the value in evolving those beliefs so that we can become a more culturally competent and Christ-like people. Does that mean changing our beliefs to the opposite end of the spectrum? Definitely not. Although this might be the case in the journey for some, it most definitely isn’t the journey for all. But the beauty of it all, is learning to hold true to your set of standards and beliefs, allowing them to evolve, while also accepting others as they are, despite the differences in ideals and values that might contrast even drastically.
If I was to identify the most difficult and challenging issues I experience in learning this ideal of being true to who I am while still maintaining an open mind to those who’s beliefs and actions conflict with my ever-evolving worldview, it would be the struggle of demonstrating compassion toward others that remind me of the person I used to be. Ethnocentric, fearful, judgmental, unaccepting, apathetic, and closed-minded. Unable to consider alternative perceptions, seeing things as black and white, wrong or right, rather than developing an appreciation for the many and diverse journey’s of their brothers and sisters. We are ALL brothers and sisters after all.
But if I am to overcome this obstacle of distancing myself from those who are like I once was, I must always remember that it was this same compassion that helped to lead me where I am today. That same compassion demonstrated by others that helped me to evolve my perceptions and diversify my life experiences and worldview. That same compassion that tolerated my ignorance and accepted me where I was so that I could be provided with opportunities for growth and progression toward empathy, love, and acceptance.
I still feel shame when I reflect on moments where I was judgmental, insensitive, and perpetuated the ethnocentric ideals that were a part of my social conditioning. Shame that still burns me to this day—guilty of using others to justify why I was or was not a certain way. Using my own spouse and children as evidence that I couldn’t possibly be racially ignorant. Shame, sadness, bitterness still find their way with me even today—so much that it is sometimes very difficult to discuss these very issues with others—still so very hypersensitive to how even I, myself, have perpetuated the very ideals that ignore the very real and very valid experiences of others in this world—the ignoring and invalidation of my very own brothers and sisters.
I will forever be grateful for those who accepted me where I was. Who showed compassion and tolerance even at their own detriment at times. And to their honor, I will work to show that same compassion to enable all to have access to the same opportunities to evolve their worldview. After all, was it not Christ Himself who taught empathy, compassion, and love, in its most perfect form?