Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living in this world

My front door with the new solar lights
When I was new in sobriety, someone told me to focus on the similarities not the differences in people.  Specifically, people in meetings.  But I have found this to be wonderful advice that has served me well over the years.  I even gave this advice to my daughters on their first day of kindergarten... having just heard it in AA.

Recently I had dinner with my best friend and a bunch of her friends and relatives.   We used to argue to the point of screaming at each other about politics.  Some people are just sure to their very soul that they are "right," and have no respect for people who aren't.  She falls into that group.  At dinner on Sunday, they started talking about politics - and threw in religion for good measure.   They mocked politicians, religious leaders, and public figures.  I kept my mouth shut somehow.  And later in the conversation, I mentioned, with no ax to grind, my own religious affiliation (the one they had just mocked).  Because although I don't need to defend any politician (however I may wish to), I cannot deny my faith.

Blessedly, there was no screaming involved.  If I had stated my political opinion, I am quite sure there would have been.  I am grateful that I have learned when to shut my mouth and sometimes I actually practice that!  When looking for the similarities, there is usually some small morsel in the conversation that can be seized upon to find common ground.  If that is your intention.

I am a person who is trying to practice these principles in all my affairs.  That means respecting others.  It means learning to live without resentment.  It means being honest - and trustworthy.  For me, this is work because it does not come naturally.

There are people in my life that sorely tempt me to live in resentment.  I would love to dwell on how wrong they are and retaliate.  However, the price I pay for indulging in this may be my very life.  So, I opt to try to find common ground.

I have lately been praying in my office a lot.  I have been going out of my way to try to get along with a couple of people.  I have done this before and have found that miracles really do happen when you are willing to let go of your pride and ego and try to be of service to God and your fellows.  We are not at the miracle stage yet - just the hard part stage.  But I have faith and trust in God.  He has never let me down.

In the immortal words of the famous philosopher Rodney King:
"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"


Mary LA said...

Commonality is something to strive for isn't it? To be able to identify is core in recovery but the differences can be hard to overcome.

Out here the Truth & Reconciliation Commission helped many people listen to one another beyond political differences. We had to learn to be less polarised and defensive if we were to survive as a nation. Hard, though.

Syd said...

I don't like to discuss religion or politics. I have some opinions but find that having open discussions without any rancor from anyone don't usually occur. So I keep quiet in groups. I listen and do take away something. I realize that I have learned a lot in recovery and there is more still to come. That is the miracle.

Lou said...

I don't remember our country (government), people, clans, individuals being this divided when I was a kid. Am I looking back with rosy glasses? We are in gridlock-as a nation, as people. It strikes me as selfishness..everybody wants "change" but not at their expense.

Annette said...

In all our affairs...yes. I am working on that....thank you for the reminder.

Barbara said...

What a great post, a good reminder to me as well to look for the similarities.

A friend of mine was in AA with Rodney King and they had some interesting adventures together. Last I heard he still struggles, but still tries. That quote of his should be on our dollar bill or somewhere people would see it constantly.

Pammie said...

I'm glad you stated what is so obvious for us, but not so much to others... "For me, this is work because it does not come naturally."
" I would love to dwell on how wrong they are and retaliate. However, the price I pay for indulging in this may be my very life."
thanks mary

Anonymous said...

The very few times I have purposely kept my mouth, it was a much greater feeling than putting in my two cents, but man was it hard! Dwelling and retaliating are not options for me anymore either.
Thanks for stopping by today, Mary.

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