Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 516: “Yeah! I Think That Has To Be the Word For It.”

“Selfishness is what destroys our relationships. It’s what makes our world ugly;
it’s a darkness in the world.”
— Tara

Operation365_Day517a“’When we step outside of ourselves and put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, and know that feeling, and love them despite their mistakes, despite their weaknesses. But love them like I think God loves us… despite our weaknesses.

“I think if all of us could ever do that, and not in some unrealistic way, but to just people that we make contact with every single day. It would totally change the world. It would totally change how everything functions around us.

“From the lady checking us out at the grocery store to our very own mother, to our neighbor. If we could just see them as human beings who have pains like us; who have weaknesses like us, and put ourselves in their shoes, and love them like I think God does. I think that would change everything.”

“I’ve heard a lot about politics and what’s going on in the world and I’ve studied sociology. I hear a lot, but it’s hard to continue hearing about it all the time. It’s somewhat exhausting. It’s hard to have any trustworthy sources too, and there’s not a lot of healthy discourse on most of the stuff happening. I wish that there were. I don’t even want to get started on that.

“We’re moving in the direction of self-focused. Everything is very individualistic, and the more and we’re self-focused, the less and less we care about the bigger picture of what’s happening in the world. Those discussions aren’t happening. The conversations in communities aren’t happening about what a difference we can be; and until we kind of turn the words… that community focus, that group focus, the problem will always exist.

“’If we can’t turn away from the trend towards self-focused individualism, then I think it’s going to get worse and worse. People are going to care less and less about each other, less and less good is going to happen. I guess in summary, what needs to happen is a turn towards community and towards the others. Towards actually caring about, not saying ‘Oh the government will take care of that, that’s why I pay taxes’… But saying, like Mother Theresa said, ‘What can I do today for this person?’ and I feel like that’s fading, that attitude.”

Operation365_Day517b“Honestly, the first word that comes to my mind is Love. But it feels so cliché and cheesy that I hesitate to say it. But what it means to me, and what I think is universal about it, is that it is one of the most powerful words that we have.

“’One of my side obsessions is language, so I feel like I wish there was another word besides love that meant what it means to all of us. That didn’t feel cliché and cheesy, because it’s so meaningful and so powerful in what it means; and, I don’t want to have that attitude about it. I want to be able to immediately say, ‘No, that’s love!’ That it is obviously the most powerful word in the world.

“I think that it is the compass to empathy; the turning point towards the other, and also to thinking outside of ourselves and seeing other people. That’s what it’s all about. Like I think God sees people. Not like how we see them through our own distorted lens of immortality and imperfection.

“As a therapist I have to do that all the time. I feel like I’ve learned so much from having to do that. The spiritual stuff like praying to God to help me clearly see this person that I’m working with. I want to love them perfectly. I don’t want to see them pass off their further potential and their soul and their infiniteness; and I think that’s what love is.

“It’s not the romantic love. Not passionate love, but just seeing somebody’s divineness… their infiniteness. That knowing that person is so much more than I could ever understand and so much more than what I can see right in front of me; and having that feeling of compassion and love. There’s no other word for it in the English language. That – yeah! I think that has to be the word for it.’”

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