Miriam begins “at my tender age of 24, what words of wisdom do I have?” I’ve put her on the spot with my question. But after just a second of thought, her response is clear. “Be true to yourself. Don’t live your life based on what you think you should be.” And with a smiling laugh, her personality glows in summing up her council… “Love, dream, conquer.”
I run into Miriam and Kim this afternoon on the eve of the 4th of July, a day that America celebrates the beginning of its independence from past days of unfair taxation (among other things); a day that millions pay homage to lives lost in the fight for a better future, and a prompt for them to pause in evaluating the reasoning behind whatever patriotic perspectives they may have.
For over 200 years this day has come and gone. It has been celebrated to the fullest degree by many, as well as mocked or scorned by others. But one thing is certain about this day. It is a tribute to the bravery of “we the people.”
We the people– three powerful words that literally ground the beginning of Constitution Of The United States of America, as written, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I make no claim in being an expert in regards to the full content of the Constitution. And in my quick research of it, do see that it has undergone a series of amendments. But never the less, this grounding opening has never been modified. Although, I’m sure that there a many power parties who would welcome superseding it with a modified version; perhaps “we the loudest,” or maybe “we the hidden agenda” or something of that sort. But that is a whole other story; one that is barbed with sharp spears of wavering opposition– An argument that takes on the form of a morphing fire-breathing dragon. One that would devour all the uniting work we are striving for in the building of our 365 community. I’ll pass on saying any more and leave it in the hands of your good conscience.
Back to We the people! Diverse, opinionated, individual and passionately believing in the paths that we as human beings have right to follow. In meeting Miriam and her partner Kim, I am charged to make a claim. One that directs us to not open our minds and hearts in accepting the fundamental truths that are part of our personal spiritual and psychological make up. But, more profoundly to give the same respect towards those who choose to live their lives according to a set of outlooks contrary to ours.
Now I’m not supporting the evils and atrocities that are epidemic in the world. I assure you that I am not burying my head in the sand in not address the multitude of horrors that so terribly occur on a daily basis all over the globe. The senseless murdering of the innocent, the raping of body and soul, the greed of the unquenchable and the suppression of human dignity that spawns from the lesser majority.
But in this darkness, can be found a greater light. Something that in speaking with the thousands we have met over the last several years, has allowed us glimpse to the good that abides in the hearts of the many. Through this, one fact is rising to the surface like the finest of cream. We are the greater majority. You and I, everyday people, living every day lives. The quite ones, us, working in the background of societies loudest, are actually the ones holding the keys capable of enacting real change. It is in our personal circles of influence, and through our example, where long holding effects can take root. Not like the bolstering thunder of temporary reform or of won high-profile battles; but victories that will carry forth long-lasting and plentiful fruits to future generations. That is… if we have the courage to preserver the screaming tongues of the divided.
We will all never agree on any one issue. That is what makes us magnificent and progressive as a society. As I see it, the most catastrophic thing that could happen to us would be to become homogenized society. There will always be conflict, and we have to go through it to master our own selves. Without it we become numbed and sheepish. Open to giving in to the hand of the strongest oppressor or those smiling over their own hidden agendas of conquest.
“So how is it that Miriam can use the word conquer in her opening remarks? Richard! Are you calling her an oppressor!!!
I promise that is the farthest from my mind. You see… Miriam uses the word along side of two even more powerful words. Those being “love” and “dream.”
Miriam is the real deal. Her very value system is under attack. You can see the hurt in her eyes as she and Kim continue to open up in our conversation; a conversation in which neither of them take side in condemning either their opposition or their comrades.
Without guile Miriam shares her heart, “Why do people try to make others feel badly for who they are? There is no reason for that. You don’t have to agree how I live my life. I’m a good person. You don’t have to hate me for being gay.”
Now I’m a heterosexual… always have been… always will be. And in being so, I have also received similar hate words for my lifestyle. But key to our discussion is this. We both agree that love is the greatest resolver, and as we do, we share a dream for the world ahead; a dream that is not caught up in the thunderous wars of the stirred up majority; a dream that more people will do their best on an individual level to simple love one another, regardless of any single victory, or loss, of worldly battles. And my guess, if more of us would do that… We’d see a lot less hate and a ton more lasting resolves.
I love these ladies for their courage and willingness to not pick up arms in joining, nor in falling, to any of the hate tribes.
Kim chimes in, “Follow your heart. I believe there is a positive already laid out for all of us, and whatever path you land on is the path you are supposed to be on. Stop trying to force certain things to happen in your life that aren’t meant to happen right now, or ever. To just accept things that are coming into your life. Every person comes into your life for a reason. To make you better or the make you learn a lesson. Know that there is a path for you to land on. And take that path… Be happy.”
I ask about the future and what we can do now for a better tomorrow?
“That’s a tough question…” Miriam pauses, “… loving one another and accepting people… that’s it. That’s what it comes down to. There is so much hatred and anger in the world. People just forget to stop and to understand that other people are facing struggles and daily battles too. We are not stopping to try to understand others. We are automatically assuming that they are the bad guys, or that they are not going to understand what I am going through or what not. We are just not loving each another for our differences. Instead, we are hating people for our differences.”
Kim gives us a path to follow. “We need to teach our little ones that we are not on the world for ever. And, they can make an impact on others. We need to start teaching them now. To look at people and love one another for what we have to offer. That’s where it has to start. The world is becoming smaller. We can interact over the Internet. We can communicate with people across nations, in schools, just exposing people to others differences.”
Miriam smiles, and with a nod, confirms Kim’s assertion, “I agree,” she simple states.
The world is becoming a much smaller planet and there is much work we can do vicariously over the electronic wavelengths. Yet there is one thing that lays uneasy with me in welcoming the use of new media; a tool that I am personally grateful for, and am obviously using to share the ideas we discuss. However, there is a Pandora’s box we must be aware of. No matter how spontaneous our digital society becomes, it will never fully replace the resolving power of true face-to-face interaction.
We are people… remarkable, unique– able to love unceasingly, and sadly, also to hate with utter lack of compassion or remorse.
My wish for this celebrated day of independence…? That we all, at least for a day, take a moment to look our fears directly in the eye; to examine the depths of the motivation behind what angers us, and in doing so, step for a moment into the shoes of those who differ us– Perhaps, it not about the issues at hand. We all know there are battles that each of us will win and there are battles that we will lose. But at the end of the day, when we put our heads on our pillows… readying to close our eyes in rest… or even death… can we look at ourselves in the mirror and make this claim? “Although at times my heart ached, my mind was troubled, my lifestyle, or even my faith was questioned… I did not hate… nor did I persecute my fellow human.”
Miriam, Kim, thank you for allowing me into your lives. May all your dreams come true my new friends.