I usually write about your world, or my world…the small worlds that revolve between the four walls we call “home”. But today, if you don’t mind, I’d like to draw a line between WifeSavers principles and what’s going on in OUR world, the world we share, the great BIG world.
A meme I saw on FB this morning disturbed and dismayed me (as a lot of memes do these days). This one captures, I think, a lot of why Disneyland’s sweet song, “It’s a Small World”, feels more and more obsolete.
Check it out:
I never cared if you were gay until…
I never cared what color you were until…
I never cared about your political affiliation until…
I never cared where you were born until…
I never cared if you were well off or poor until…
I never cared if your beliefs were different than mine until…
If I’ve learned anything in my years of work helping women reclaim or beautify their relationships, it is this:
When a human being’s (or beingS’) basic human needs for connection, understanding, dignity, and validation–even BELONGING–feel chronically unmet, a sense of desperation sets in that eventually drives that person to act out on that desperation.
The manifestation of the neglect and despair they feel is usually not very pretty because by the time desperation sets in, so has anger, frustration, or resentment.
Think of the times you’ve made a less-than-flattering bid for attention from your husband or he has from you, or even more clearly, how children act out when all they really want is acknowledgement and emotional connection.
The statement, “Now, I care” is exactly what the desperate bidder is seeking.
Maybe then, just as we would try to get to the bottom of a loved one’s need after a cry for attention this way, asking questions would be more effective than making confrontational statements.
For instance, we could ask (as I recently noted that a student — who is white — asked of her friends — who are black — via her FB account):
- What is it that you need, or are looking for?
- How can I help meet that need?
- Help me understand: What is it that I may have done (knowingly or unknowingly) that has contributed to your sense of desperation, fear, sadness, or anger?
In the case of the disheartening meme, the answer to that last question would probably be something like…
“You never cared.”
As you well know, there is a higher law beyond Tolerance, and even beyond Respect that will save this world… the ONLY law that will save ALL our troubled relationships.
It is the same law we aspire to live by in the WifeSavers Course and Community.
It is, of course, LOVE.
LOVE is such a grandiose, ethereal ideal, I had to come up with a more concrete definition in my writing and teaching so that the concept feels more DOABLE. I’ve shared it with you before. Here it is:
Love is the medium through which VALUE is conveyed.
And that, dear friend, is all that the person who is gay, or black, or brown, or white, or liberal, or conservative, or born outside your country, or poverty-stricken, or disabled, or of a different faith or no faith, is asking for, or demonstrating for, or petitioning for, or lobbying for in whatever way is available to them: TO BE HEARD, TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED, TO BE VALUED.
In the name of peace and progress, just as we do in our home-centered relationships, let’s all open our hearts to people in general AND open our minds as to WHY they are taking the position they are. As you well know from your own experience, your spiritual living, and your study with me, lowering the drawbridge is the only way this human FAMILY is going to be able to stay intact; the only way we will get beyond so much pain, so much blame, so much hurt, so much division.
I welcome your thoughts below.
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