I have just realized something amazing. I have friends who don’t agree with me about major things, whose beliefs are different than mine, who see the world differently than me and who live differently than I do. Our friendship has no entrance exam. There is no true beliefs required. We are friends because we can disagree… not because we can’t.
Their only requirement best I can tell is a commitment to treat them as I would like them to treat me.
The most absolutely amazing thing of all is that it is amazing. It is an amazingly lucky thing to know people who like you not because you belong in the same group, share the same label, or subscribe to the same creed. We live in a world seemingly hopelessly divided amongst warring parties. We solve our problems by figuring out who to blame and who to be mad at and who to fear. Political discussion is more and more a thing of history but this is about far more than politics. Cultural groups look at each other with suspicion. Too many white Americans believe life will only be better when 11 million people who are not white Americans are deported. Religious groups all know God and are astounded that anyone outside their group could be so deluded as to believe they do too.
I spend a lot of time with mental health advocacy and am astounded at the level of division and acrimony amongst people who supposedly are for many of the same things. There are people of true belief and people who doubt the integrity and character of anyone who doesn’t say things like they do. On more than one occasion I have had people who told me to beware or at least be prepared to duck if I posted something with a particular view or take.
One man several months ago got so mad. He told me I was a sell out because I thought someone else deserved more than to be called names and ridiculed. He got so upset when I told him I just didn’t understand how we could ask others to treat us better than we treated ourselves. I still don’t to be honest.
I know if I have to pass a test or take an oath to be your friend I will fail. Hell I won’t try. I wish we had far fewer tests and that the things that separate us were not so much more important than what connects us. I wish there were more kinder spaces.
I want to thank all the amazing people who have done such an amazing thing. Thanks for being a friend.