A few days ago my granddaughter called to tell me of a conversation she had overheard. A group of college students were discussing “others” with vile hatred and cultural generalities. As my granddaughter listened she realized she could be a voice for acceptance, and in that moment decided to pursue a vocation where she could break down the barriers that separate people from one another.
One of the most common tools for reconciling differences is the sharing of story. When I hear your story I discover the common story we share. We have stories of love and family and loss and desire that are more shared than different. We have hopes and dreams for the days ahead, most likely hopes of peace, joy, and life. Our stories unwind and the differences fade. Our mutual aspirations become places where we join together to free others from their prejudices.
As my granddaughter follows her heart, she will find that her life is richer by far because she cared enough to hear the stories of those whom she understood the least. She will be rewarded with friends who will last a lifetime, for they will know she is a friend who reaches out to embrace differences with affection.
An excellent resource for learning how to reach out to others is The Friendship Factor by Brenda Poinsett. Have you reached out to someone recently? What impact has it had on your life?