BRIDGE THAT DIVIDE, NOW!!!

I tend not to want to jump into the current public discourse on controversial issues, especially when they hit close to home.   My own teenage brother died in a mysterious incident involving a gun (gift from his father) and the police.  But that’s a whole ‘nother story.  As a black woman in America I’m well aware there’ve always been issues, they’ve gotten better, but there’s still a way to go.

However, thanks to blogger Lia Pettersen, came across a post on a new blog, Fill Your Own Glass, (nice title) that seems to be compelling me to speak!  It’s gotten lots of buzz especially from people connected to law enforcement who are understandably reeling from the publicity around the recent slayings of unarmed youth in the U.S.

The post reminds us of all the good law enforcement people do.   We need this reminder. The downside, for me, is that posts like these also continue some of the polarization we’re struggling with around the globe.   Us versus them.  This group is bad, the others are saints.  And the perhaps unintentional effect of pushing the problem into the background.

We need to move up a bit higher, get beyond this divide, even the need to have to defend ourselves within our own “groupings.”  Republicans vs. Democrats, haves and have nots, one faith group being closer to godliness than another, one country better than another, blondes having more fun, Italians doing it better.   The list goes on.  None of it is truth.  Or even important at the end of the day.

The fact is, most of us are good beings, living our lives the best we know how, finding joy, happiness, fulfillment where we can find it.   There are of course, caring and effective members in the law enforcement, protective communities, just as there are good people in government, in corporate America, in inner cities where people struggle with less than adequate resources, as well as in wealthy suburbs.  Good is everywhere.  And, there’s also a lot of bad.

The need is to want to get to know each other.

Not just stand apart and throw out our opinions, often defensively, attach labels and perspectives based on little to NO real experience, just what we’ve read or someone told us.  How many people outside your regular social/ethnic/religious/nationalistic circle to you really know?  And how superior, or even inferior do you feel toward them?

The fact is, for all the good in law enforcement, we do have a problem of abuse that needs to be dealt with, just as we have a problem with dysfunctional governments, income inequality, cyber security, and so on, and so on.  There are no quick fixes, but I could almost guarantee that a good beginning would be more of us moving toward real connection and increased understanding of the so-called problem people.   Who is that person really?   What’s their life like?   What issues are they dealing with that may be different, more, or less challenging than mine?

We need to want to know more than we want to sit at home in our separate enclaves and presume to know, to sit at home in our own righteousness, often self-righteousness, and be sure we are better, or know better.  I know for sure I don’t.

In a previous post, http://sandrareflects.com/2014/12/02/bridging-divides-sweetly/, I stopped short of calling on each of us to take the step of getting to know someone we don’t, someone we normally just avoid, “they’re not like us, not our kind,” to find out just how much we share in common.  Get out of our comfort zones and be a part of the solution!

Now is the time.

It always is, always will be.  NOW.  Law enforcement personnel need to know the people they’re charged with protecting, or apprehending.  KNOW them. Mix with them.  Sit with them.  Enough to reduce the fear, enough to enable them to want to seek, and ultimately find a better, safer, more effective way.  They probably also need better training, mentoring, supporting.  The same is true for any other group, from families to communities to political parties to corporate and government leaders.  There are many people out there who know this and are practicing it.   What about the rest of us?  We’re all in this together and we’re all that we’ve got.

There’s someone near you, or maybe not so near, you’ve been passing up the opportunity to get to know, better.   Do it.   Now.

This entry was posted in Inspirations, Life coaching, lovingkindness, Peace, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to BRIDGE THAT DIVIDE, NOW!!!

  1. jan says:

    I’ve been very lucky to have worked in multi-national firms where I got to know people of all races, religions and socio-economic levels – so I think I can honestly say there’s no one I feel superior to. I don’t understand what happened in Ferguson or Staten Island

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Jan,

      I suppose I could say the same thing having grown up all over the country in diverse environments. But maybe it’s folk like us who need to also understand better. My simplistic “understanding” is “what happened” is probably complex, but much of it is most people don’t see the inherent connection between themselves and so-called “others”. I grew up learning it by simple exposure, experience. As it seems you did!

  2. Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my post. I am sadden that it would seem polarizing to you in any way as my intention could not have been more opposite. I wrote this piece with no agenda, and I was determined not to touch on current events (like you, I also did not want to jump into the public discourse). I wrote this piece to help heal myself, as my heart was breaking and my core was shaken by the simply horrific things I was reading on the internet. Rather than to create polarization I was hoping to remind readers that there is humanity in law enforcement, and to provide examples of how these officers interact with the public every day. They are the reflections of things I have been honored to witness as a law enforcement wife.

    Your words are eloquent, and your point is so relevant. There is much work to be done by all of us, as you noted we need to find ways to come together as humans instead of breaking off into this camp or that camp (be it politics, religion, education, etc.). I will take your advice to heart and try to do better. Several of those very police officers I wrote about spent the day today with underprivileged children- breakfast, shopping for holiday gifts, creating a holiday project at a local home improvement store, and lunch. Hopefully it is a step in the right direction.

    Best,
    Karen

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Karen,
      So delighted to hear from you. These are “touchy” subjects to write about and I tried to convey, not very well I guess, that it was perfectly understandable that people like yourself would feel lost in the media blitz (we know good news seldom makes the news!). And, I thought we needed to be reminded of what you said.

      You’re doing good, don’t appologize. I didn’t at all think you were taking sides. Many people are putting their lives on the line to help. Let’s keep moving toward safer ways. We All need to look up higher. Maybe the police you know have something to teach the others? This is all a work in progress, us learning to love each other. Had you not left a little wedge in the door, shall we say, I may never have been moved to open my mouth! So let’s just keep the ball rolling. Let’s keep talking and reaching out! And maybe stepping on an occasional toe!

      Thanks so much, stay in touch,

      Sandra

  3. Gaye Sekula says:

    I loved your post, my friend. Oh, how we need to stop judging and condemning those who don’t think, live, look, believe like us. I have been so sad at all of the news. It seems to many want to fuel the hatred I remember seeing on TV as a child. It’s like the clock was turned back 50 years and somehow, I don’t believe it is the way it used to be. I’ve seen so many changes. Why can’t we realize we are all in this together?
    My heart breaks, but you made it so much better! You are a voice of reason in a world out of control all over again.
    Here is to believing in a better day for us all.

  4. Sandra says:

    Thanks Gaye, you write like the painter you are, passionately and moving! I think it’s all just a reminder we each have work to do, probably I our own back yard, just practice more love, forgiveness, patience. What else?
    Really appreciate your commenting!

  5. Kathy Waller says:

    I read something the other day–and I don’t know where or by whom–that you can’t understand what you don’t love. Then there are love your neighbor and perfect love casts out fear. Love comes first. That’s a tall order, but maybe the willingness to love and the will to understand would be a start. I admit I don’t love those who fan the flames, and I don’t particularly want to. From blogging, I know there are many people of good will all over the world. It seems all of us could do something to help, as you’ve done.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Kathy,
      I’ve never heard that before, “can’t understand what you don’t love”, but it’s great. Will have to remember. I think you’re spot on, and yes there are lots of folk it’s hard to love or want to, but we can only chip away at it a bite at a time, like each time these things flare up.

    • Sandra says:

      Kathy, was that possibly something Krishnamurti said?

      • Kathy Waller says:

        Sandra, that’s probably right. The lines I came across included attribution, but I was going so fast I didn’t pay attention. I haven’t found it online yet, but now I’m hooked and will keep on looking. I did notice several videos of a band playing a song that turns the line around: You can’t love what you don’t understand.

  6. I love your level- headed words. As a matter of fact I printed them out to share with someone (I hardly know) today. I think you must be a “highly evolved” being.

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Cinda, so delighted they spoke to you. As for being highly evolved, I’d say both feet are still stuck in much mud!! I think perhaps it’s just listening to the sages of old about loving and understanding, Gandhi, MLK, etc. I think Kathy Waller touched on it in her comments. Whatever helps.

  7. litadoolan says:

    Wow Sandra. Such an important and moving post. I don’t think I can add a word to what you have said so well.

    I loved the hope in this line ‘most of us are good beings, living our lives the best we know how’ – I think we need to be strong to embrace this sometimes, as true as I feel it is!

    You write so clearly about issues that not everyone gets. I definitely learn from you!

    All my good wishes

    Lita

  8. This is a beautifully written posting. Your descriptions of the current situations and circumstances are correct. Communities should be working together to learn of one another instead of identifying the polarizing issues that breeds discontent and hate. Again, great posting.

  9. Sandra says:

    Thanks RL! Maybe the community we create in the blogosphere will help. Thanks for visiting and following. More peace in 2015!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s