Ripples #840: The Struggles of the Stragglers.
June 29, 2015
We’re all just trying to walk each other home.
-Ram Dass, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ
No one is self-sufficient.
And it’s not a one-way thing-
-the generosity of spirit from one side
provokes a response in kind from the other side.
-Desmond Tutu, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI
Have you ever been to a long distance race and stuck around to the very end? When the last runners cross the finish line long after the winners have been cheered in and awarded their medals, you’ll rarely find spectators standing around booing or jeering the stragglers. In fact, I’ve observed that the fiercest cheering is often reserved to help the “losers” keep going for those last few yards. It’s worth noting that we could choose to frame them as “winners” for making it to the finish line when plenty of people gave up a while back OR never even made it to the starting line.
Many folks here in the U.S. celebrated Friday’s Supreme Court decision that updated our country’s definition of marriage because they see it as a long overdue revision, similar to the 1968 “Loving vs. Virginia” case that affirmed interracial marriage which was still banned in many states at the time. Others were disappointed, and continue to view this change skeptically as an unwelcome shift away from how they had been viewing the concept of marriage.
I’m curious and determined to find a way to celebrate the magnificent hurdle that our country has cleared AND at the same time bring some patience and compassion to those who need a bit more time to catch up.
You may be frustrated that some haven’t (yet!) been persuaded, and I really do get that. Instead of booing them, however, I invite you to consider that our society improves each time another member makes it to the line of, “Oh, I get it!” And I think we have a civic opportunity, perhaps even a divine responsibility, to help our neighbors walk towards a place where all of us can be seen, acknowledged, respected, and loved for who we really are. It can be useful to keep in mind just how many people have shifted their perspective on this issue in the past few years AND that other significant seismic societal shifts (owning slaves, women’s suffrage, racial integration, etc) were gradual transitions that included leaders and stragglers).
To those whose courage and tenacity helped us achieve this milestone: CONGRATS! To those who are still on the path, I hope and pray that you’ll soon find a way to recognize and respect the civil rights of your fellow citizens even if you don’t agree with or understand them.