When Daniel and I were first married, like most newlyweds, we experienced a crash course in communication. About two years into our young marriage we decided to purchase our first home. We intentionally picked a fixer upper, that we immediately gutted and spent five years rebuilding together. Several people told us we would get divorced over this project...
Obviously we are not divorced, but that house did not come without trials. Truthfully we fought a lot about decisions in that home. We like to joke that this was the house that taught us how to fight. And also how to let things go, and agree to disagree.
The moment I remember most vividly had to do with our basement renovation. We would have long discussions where we would dream together about what we would do to our basement. We were very specific in our discussions. Very specific. And then the time came to actually do the work.
We walked downstairs and had one of the biggest fights of our marriage. We were on the same page after all, having talked in great detail. BUT. It turned out that when I was talking about a south wall, Daniel was talking about a north wall. Our visions were completely opposite. And while we had talked it out and AGREED on what we were doing, we weren't even remotely close to being on the same page.
It was a valuable lesson.
Once we figured out how off our "agreement" was, we sat down and literally drew out our ideas on paper and discussed (fought) and discussed some more until we came to a real agreement. A true agreement, where we were both not only heard but actually understood the other person.
These days if we are working on something and our words don't seem to be getting through, sometimes we go back to the drawing board. Literally. We have to be on the same page and know that we have the same vision in an effort to move forward.
In my opinion, so many things that are happening in our country right now can be traced back to a similar type of problem (whether political or pertaining to race relations in our communities). We may be talking about the same issues, and even hearing what is being said. But sometimes there is a complete lack of understanding because we don't have the same perspective.
I recently read an article (Race, Truth and Our Two Realities) that gives incite into how the correspondence theory of truth impacts race discussions in America. We are at a crossroads where discussions are happening, but it is like the people taking part in the discussions are standing with their backs to each other, looking in opposite directions. The past, along with one's personal experiences and expectations about the future, all define one's perspective, and if those things are different (which they inevitably are), a conversation might not actually yield any kind of change.
I don't have answers. I find that difficult subjects are best talked out in person, with maybe a drawing board to get you where you need to go. Shouting on the internet, or in forums where you can't really be heard does not solve anything.
I hope that at the very least we are raising our boys to be respectful and loving to everyone they meet. And to also understand that every single person in this world has experiences that determine how they perceive the world and live out their lives. Period. That is just reality and we need to be willing to listen with an effort to try to understand one other if there is ever to be any kind of change or reconciliation.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10