The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?
I don’t think I could have a “closest friend” that didn’t share my “strong beliefs.” Family, maybe, because you can’t pick your family (sadly), but close friends? What are close friends if not people who share your strong beliefs?
And what would be examples of strong beliefs, anyway? God or no God? Fracking or No fracking? Democrat or Republican? Pro Life or Pro Choice? Carnivore or Vegetarian?
If I held a strong belief that was not shared by my “closest friends” could they really be my “closest friends?”
This is a curiously worded prompt.
Let me take out the word “closest” then, and just say “friends,” because I definitely have friends who don’t share a lot of my strong beliefs. What happens in these relationships is that we decide, consciously or unconsciously, that because of other stellar qualities that we truly DO admire about one another, we will “just not go there” when these “divisive” issues come up.
This allows us to fully enjoy each other’s humor, or generosity, or kindness, or whatever, and overlook the heavy things that divide us.
This makes the relationship much more pleasant, but it’s not anything like the deep, rich, fudgy-deliciousness of relationships with our “close” friends– those with whom we share a Zeitgeist, a worldview, the same priorities, the same hopes and dreams and enthusiasms. With those “close friends” we can be who we really are and relax and enjoy each other and come into our fullness as human beings.
Lately, this Marcellus Shale fracking issue is not only creating cracks in the bedrock of the earth, but in some of my relationships that had formerly been of the rich, gooey variety and have now switched over to the happy, but “shallow” side. A big schism has opened up between us.
Before, we would “cuddle up” together. Now I find myself “yelling over” this issue to them “way over there.” A deep crevasse has grown between us.
It was not a deliberate decision on my part to do this. It just “happened” as a result of my attachment to my “strong belief” in the complete wrong-headedness and irresponsibility of this activity fueled by nothing but corporate greed and stupidity masking as “the need for energy-independence” and their inability to see things the way I do.
I frequently ask myself: Why the hell isn’t everyone seeing this when it is so CLEAR to me? What don’t they see things the way I do?
And then I laugh hysterically. hahahahahahahaha.
Because this is the 25 Million Dollar question, isn’t it? This is the cause of all wars and strife and disagreements in the world from time immemorial, isn’t it? “Why can’t everybody else see things MY WAY (i.e. the correct, the right, the sane, the rational, the responsible, the compassionate and intelligent way??)
I find myself surprisingly okay with having these shallow, careful relationships with people who I have to pussyfoot around when this topic comes up. Turns out I’m a good pussyfooter. We talk about the things we have in common, and avoid the giant elephant in the room.
But when panic wakes me up in the middle of the night, or when I’ve read one too many emails or articles, and I am sweating and worrying and ready to put the house on the market, close up the studio and bolt, I curl up with my “close friends” and we comfort each other, and sooth each other, and support each other.
And it will be with these people that I will link arms and walk into the future, while all the others disappear into the mist.