It’s been a week since the election. Despite the cloud of joy and hope I have been floating on since last Tuesday night, my heart still feels heavy with the weight of the recent political season. You see, the divisiveness of political races causes me an enormous amount of anxiety. I am saddened by the way our disagreements overshadow our shared struggles and joys and our common humanity.
Over the past few years, as John and tried and tried to grow our family, I made deep and lasting connections with other women throughout this country and around the world. Similar challenges, experiences, and dreams caused our paths to intersect, and journeying together forged strong bonds – bonds built on understanding the heartache of babyloss and infertility. We mourned together and dreamed together and hoped together. We were a secret sisterhood – fiercely loyal and offering unwavering support.
And now, with Thea here safe and sound, new connections have emerged and old relationships have risen to a different level. We mamas [of living children] gather around each other too, at times offering guidance, at times simply providing support and encouragement. We share our experiences, our strategies, our struggles, and of course, our joys.
In both circles, we corralled around each other, our differences not as important as the bonds and shared experience that brought us together. And yet the differences were always there.
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, for brief moments, I catch myself forgetting that not everyone else is just like me, that we are all so very different. I know, I know. I’m working on it.
But seriously, I sometimes find myself a bit startled when those who I share so much in common with - philosophies of parenting, for instance – end up holding starkly different opinions on other matters.
And yet the differences were always there.
We can travel a similar road and see the scenery in dramatically different ways. We can be fiercely loyal to each other, yet not see eye to eye on certain things. [Once again, this amazing post rings true.]
We all have our own history, our own journey, our own stories. Our similarities and our nuances are woven together into the complexity that is the human experience. Isn’t it the differences that add depth and texture to our existence?
Elections have a way of magnifying our disparity, causing us to draw lines in the sand and huddle in our camps. But I think that what we have in common is of much greater measure than the disagreements that could divide us. Despite our differences, we all want similar things – to be safe and healthy and happy – to have our needs met – to protect those that we love and the values that guide us. We all want understanding and for our voices to be heard. We all want what is best for our children. We all want to mother them in the best ways we know how.
Since I first heard them, Barack Obama’s words - “We are not as divided as our politics suggest” – have deeply resonated with me.
With all of my heart, I believe these words to be true.
So, in the days ahead, I will choose to look for ways to connect.
Won't you join me?