I was swimming laps in my pool trying to beat the already almost unbearable Texas heat last week. I was on my back kicking across the pool when a sight in the sky stopped my swimming and started my thinking. I quit kicking and floated on my back – looking up.
Way above me were white trail marks of airplanes and I watched a large bird lazily fly back and forth with the white streaks as its backdrop. A few yards above me, a mockingbird flew by. As I watched the two birds in the sky above me, a wasp buzzed a few inches from my face.
In the one little corner of the world straight above me, I could see everything from a wasp to a jet plane. They were all sharing the same sky.
I haven’t written anything in months. Lots of thoughts have rattled around in my brain about the pandemic, the economy, freedom, protests, riots and racism but I haven’t written anything. Lots of people have written lots of things so I figured I would stay silent.
But then the contrails from some jets and a pesky wasp pushed me to my computer.
I considered the creatures sharing the air above me and how they aren’t much different from me. I’m trying my best to share the air around me with other creatures – and the news of the day is doing its best to discourage that. The narrative in the media is one of division and differences.
But is that your gut-level belief? It isn’t mine.
I tend to fall into the conservative Christian category but I have friends who don’t.
And to be honest, even within my Christian circles, there are differences. Some attend churches with ministers in robes, sit in pews and sing hymns. Some attend churches with ministers in skinny jeans, loud music and people lifting their hands in the air. Some don’t go to church at all. That doesn’t stop us from praying for one another and sharing a love of Jesus.
I’m from America and proud of it but I have friends from other countries.
I am white but I have friends who aren’t.
I have friends and family who are liberals, atheists, agnostics, pro-abortion, in the LBGTQ category, different socio-economical backgrounds and status… And the list goes on.
I have friends – and family – from all walks of life but I focus on what we have in common. We are very different – but yet we are very much the same.
As I get to know people “different from me,” what I realize is we all seem to have the same core values. We value health, happiness and seek to be loved. We cherish friendships and laughter. We want the best for our kids – and our parents.
We may not be the same religion but we have faith.
We may not have the same political views but we believe in freedom. And, believe it or not, we want to help take care of people in our country – we just might differ on the best way to do that.
I think about one friend in particular who, on paper, shouldn’t be my friend. She’s always been a working mom and I’ve stayed home. Our marital status has been different. She doesn’t go to church and I do. She doesn’t vote like me. But she is one of my most cherished friends. We have so much in common – and we accept the differences we have.
Couldn’t the world use a little more – really a lot more – of that? Accepting the differences in one another and loving each other in spite of those differences? I certainly think so. My friend and I both agree that discussing our differences makes us better people.
The last time our country saw a spike in civil unrest, there was a popular song I think we should bring back, join hands and sing along to.
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.
No, not just for some but for everyone.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
And then there’s the iconic – “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” that inspired Coca-Cola to produce a unifying commercial in 1971 full of diversity and gave our country a glimpse of love and compassion in a time of war, riots and protests.
And hear them echo through the hills, for peace though out the land.
I like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.
I say bring back the songs – we could use them now.
And love. We need love. Lots of love.
And above all things have fervent love for one another,
for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right,
and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are
excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Tell me how you are doing during these troubling times. Are you seeing the good? What are some positives you have noticed.