Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Can't You See What I See?

It was a mountain town and tourists were milling up and down the main street. I was sitting cross-legged on the curb near a car lot and the multi-colored flags were flapping overhead. A woman was in trouble.

In this nightmare I had over ten years ago, I watched a man beat and kill a woman in plain sight and I was the only one who could see what was happening. I couldn't stop him and I couldn't get help. My throat tightens even now at the memory; my disbelief that no one saw what I saw so clearly. I was screaming over and over "can't you see what I see?".

Before you worry about my damaged psyche, let me assure you I've had therapy :)

Even though I have worked through much of my stuff since then, I still find myself marveling much of the time that other people do not think like me. What I deem to be the "right" thing to do seems so obvious. I walk around assuming that everyone experiences things as I do. Duh - wrong.

When I was six or seven years old, I had what I like to call a "Duff moment". My grandfather's name was Duff and that's what everyone called him. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the kids in my class called their grandpas "Grandpa" or "Grandad". What? Why the heck wouldn't you call him Duff like I do? Doesn't everyone call their Grandpa "Duff"? Uhmmm, no.

Believe it or not, one Duff moment was not enough for me to get it. I have Duff moments all the time. You mean your brain doesn't function like mine? You think Rush Limbaugh is a hero? You can't see that breastfeeding is one of the most precious gifts you can give your child? You don't see a need to recyle? Hitting a child works for you? Clothes lines are a good thing you overbearing homeowner association. Trust me, I have many, many opinions.

With wisdom, I have learned to bite my tongue a lot. I realize there is no value for me or anyone else to rant and rave about what I perceive to be right. I have to admit that this compulsion to be right and convince others is one reason I blog. I fess up to trying to convert you to the evils of 'Catherinism" here. I figure you have to willingly visit my blog so you asked for it :)

It's not like I rent a soap box on the town square and hit you over the head with my doctrine. I must admit, however, the idea of a soap box has a certain appeal if I thought anyone would actually listen.

What is it in human nature that compels us to convince others of what is right? I mean, there's a war going on right now that is based on this conviction.

Even though I know the world would be a better place if we all just accepted others as they are, I still find myself wishing for unanimous agreement (with me of course). Tell me I am not the only ego-driven soul out there.

I don't think I am. One friend slights another ... spouses bicker ... parents grow distant from their children ... businesses fail. I believe almost all disagreements, small and large, can be traced to this relentless and stubborn need for everyone to agree and be the same.

Now that I have uncovered the cause of strife everywhere, what to do?

Boil it down to one word? Perhaps it's an oversimplification, but I have to say that the word "honor" (or honour for my Canadian readers depending on what you believe is "right") might solve it all.

Honoring myself, honoring my husband, honoring my neighbor, honoring my Mom and Dad ... imagine if I could do that 100% of the time. Imagine if we could all do it. I hear you, I understand you are different than me and I honor that.

I would like it very much if the people in my life could honor my beliefs, opinions and ideas even if they think I'm crazy. I don't want my loved ones to dismiss me if I differ from them. If I mess up, make mistakes or open my mouth when I shouldn't, I hope they will stick with me. They have every right to communicate their opinions with me, but I hope they do not disconnect from me because I am not them.

I do succeed at fully honoring others in one area of my life.... Lucas and Mya. There is nothing they could say or do that would cause me to write them off. I love and embrace all that they are and I am always capable of understanding their actions and words do not define them. To me, they are perfect in all of their imperfections and foibles. If I could learn to extend this kind of unconditional acceptance and honor to others, I would be on my way to creating world peace; at least for myself.

Back to my nightmare, it's not so much that I need others to see the killing, I just want them to see my distress and offer their help. Even if you can't see what I see, can you support me?


Anonymous said...

Your thoughts on respecting that the other person has a perspective/viewpoint/opinion all his own are certainly so relative in our personal relationships. Also, within the current political environment, the respect/honor is just as important in those interchanges or conversations with more casual acquaintances. I don't believe it is the diverse views of various parties that damage a nation or community, but the lack of acknowledging that each person's views are possibly a result of their own intelligence and study and may reside close to the person's heart. To casually offend the person carrying those views unravels the unity that a nation must have to operate as nation. Yet, I see the offense dished out so readily these days in conversations, editorial comments, and commonly on bumper stickers!

Your blog entry also brings to mind the phrase "American values," used so often. But how often do we really talk about what we can "value" in each other, in the individual?

Yes, to think about perspective, honor, and valuing another would not be time wasted.

Catherine said...

Thanks Anonymous ... I agree that we are bombarded with messages saying how dumb, stupid and ill-informed certain beliefs are. How can that be helpful?