How can families, extended families, friends, acquaintances heal and trust each other again if they’ve had completely opposite views and lifestyles or common sense of keeping others safe during the pandemic? C.B.
First, this is not a question of logic. This is a question of the heart – caring for people – caring for others. Throughout our entire lives, we have been and will be faced with these questions and situations. We will ask ourselves these questions about others, and others will ask these questions about us. Do they have our best interest at heart? Do we have their best interest at heart? Do they make room for us to have differing opinions and beliefs? Do we make room for them to have differing opinions and beliefs? These questions have been asked before pandemics existed, and will be asked after pandemics are only memories, because there are millions of ways for each of us to act safe or unsafe in life.
Ultimately, it isn’t an issue of whether we have the same or opposite views, but what our views motivate us to do and how our views motivate us to act towards others. It isn’t an issue of whether we have different or the same lifestyles, but whether we allow there to be room in the world for each of us to have lifestyles of our own choosing.
Giving each other the room to have our own views and lifestyles, is an expression of respect.
Giving respect is an expression of consideration of their life and choices.
Giving consideration of their life, and their choices is an expression of kindness and tolerance of them.
Giving kindness is an expression of love.
And we still love people who’s behaviors sometimes trigger pain for us, in our hearts. And others still love us, even when our behaviors sometimes trigger pain in their hearts. This is the human challenge of loving.
Because there are 8 billion people on the planet, there are 8 billion sets of beliefs, views, opinions, and 8 billion different lifestyles. No two people can ever be the same person, so no two people can ever be the same within our minds and hearts.
If we so choose it – yes, we can rely on logic to determine whether we love, but no one recommends logic being the source. What we learn is that we rely on our heart and soul to determine this. Your question is about loving others who choose differently, act differently, are motivated differently, and let their heart feel differently. There is no way around facing this experience for any human being. We face this challenge every moment of our lives, even if we’re not aware of facing it.
If you are asking for a little logic, when it comes to trusting someone, there are 8 billion people who are human beings, who have both good and bad within them (us). This means there are 8 billion human beings who make mistakes sometimes (but not always), have accidents sometimes (but not always), make poor decisions sometimes (but not always), and lose track of our common sense sometimes (but not always). This means that all people are both trustworthy sometimes and not trustworthy sometimes – this includes ourselves.
We CAN learn to trust people when they’re being trustworthy, and we CAN learn to NOT trust them when they’re not being trustworthy, but we must learn when to trust ourselves to strengthen an honest ability to accurately assess this, so that we can learn to tell the difference between when someone is being trustworthy and when someone is being untrustworthy.
Remember, everyone wants to be loved. Everyone is given opportunities to love. Neither of these two is easy, but they’re still both worth our effort, and all of us know this because we keep trying. These two come hand-in-hand, together – two sides of one coin.
If it helps any, it is a worthy prayer to pray,:
“Lord, help me to love and to recognize and accept the love other’s have for me.”
When we have reached this point, then we can decide how to respond in a pandemic. With one possible response being that we express our caring by giving others the respect for their choices, and give ourselves the respect for our own choices, while at the same time, showing we love/care for them in other ways available, and showing them that we also love/care about our own health in ways available to ourselves…
…and as you know, sometimes, there is pain with the love. The term is called “long-suffering”. It is what we feel when we love someone who acts contrary to what’s best for them or best for all.
May God be with us all in our journey to continue to love the people that we have loved already – while we continue to learn new things about who they are… and who we are.
A New Internet Challenge: Pray many times on the day called “Today”.
I think some might prefer a bucket of cold water poured on oneself, though. Just remember to say, “Oh, My God!” when you do it. (or try it without the cold water.)