Messages that feel like commands – even good advice coming from a friend- aren’t always received well. If you feel like you’re being pushed into a corner, you’re more likely to push back.
Most stories being told around the world right now seem to share several common distressing themes. Inflation and what is driving it. The war in Ukraine. The Pope’s apology to Canadian residential school survivors. Heat waves creating unbearable conditions in parts of the world that normally don’t have them. Fires, droughts, floods all predictable as a result of our continued environmental destruction.
And then the predictable debates about who, what, and how we should address climate action.
Affordable housing crisis, food insecurity, moving into a recession, extraordinary gas prices, and of course the ever present supply chain issues. Gun violence. School shootings. Grocery store shootings. Mall shootings. Continued anger about Covid vaccine mandates and the odd, lingering protest about public health guidelines. Populist political bullying, dismantling women’s right to choose, coupled with a full on attack on “woke” culture.
And you’ll never guess who’s back delivering mayhem and ridiculous soundbites cause he got raided by the FBI?
The stories we are telling each other range from angry conflict that sometimes disintegrates into outright chaos all the way to a senseless war across the ocean. This polarizing rhetoric gains traction as people are not feeling heard and from dangerous people who then take license to impose their will through bullying behaviour or use of force.
When did we stop listening to each other. Agreeing to disagree. Respecting democratic institutions that we have taken pride in building. Collectively. Collaboratively. It seems so far away from the world I thought I knew. Disenfranchised people whose demands across social media are no longer about civil society but about individuals rights and freedoms.
What does that actually mean? When I hear the word freedom right now, I know my personal definition can’t be similar to fellow Canadians who decided to disrupt and destroy the narrative most familiar to me. Horns blaring because Freedom. My freedom trumps yours.
How do I listen to their stories and really hear them?
Would anything make it easier for them to hear my stories?
All stories matter and have the potential to shape attitudes that colour our views on relationships, politics, and our society. But they have little meaning when we stop listening to one another. And when we also stop caring about the importance of the stories that each of us needs to tell.
It seems bizarre that at a time when we need to come together to address so many challenges that we keep moving far apart.
But there are glimmers of hope. Right?
I can’t help but remain hopeful that the celebrations we have this summer have mostly remained respectful of the stories that each one of us carries in our hearts. No matter how different it seems from our value base and moral codes.
We have a long ways to go but if we all learn to listen a little more, we just might make the upcoming fall and winter a different story than the one told last year.
Rainbows bring the promise that the troubles of today will surely come to pass, hold strong in your faith and vision and the rainbow will bring fresh beginnings
Getting caught last evening in a flash thunderstorm where huge drops of rain fell sideways due to wicked prairie winds felt like just another hurdle to surmount. I stood inside the vestibule of the building I was leaving, wondering if I should just go for it and run out to my car or try to wait out the onslaught and stay dry.
My internal debate went back and forth as puddles outside grew into small lakes.
Fortunately, common sense won the day and I patiently waited for the rain to quit. It seemed to stop as suddenly as it began, with Mother Nature’s special alchemy mixing atmospheric gases creating a spectacular double rainbow. It easily met the standard of an awe inspiring moment.
By the time I got out my iPhone to shoot a quick picture, it was starting to dissipate. But the magic of a rainbow after a harsh storm, somehow speaks directly to you, causing you to pause and pay attention. We all experience those inner shifts at times of transitions in our lives. When we are able to consolidate our thoughts and feelings with memorable external experiences that seem to delineate an important marker in time.
A symbolic way to tuck the past behind us while moving forward.
Rainbows have symbolized new beginnings, inspiring hope, in most cultures around the globe through the ages.
If a new beginning is in the cards, I’ll gladly take it.