I have been struggling, not only with the words to express my thoughts and feelings about the pain and turmoil in our country right now but also with how I can contribute to making things better. As I’ve spent the past few weeks processing, I keep coming back to one thing:
The world would be a much better place if we were all just a little more curious.
A friend of mine reached out to me recently and asked if I would be willing to join her, and a handful of other women she trusts, to engage in an honest discussion about race. She wanted to begin an open dialogue and share her heart as a Black mother living in a predominantly white community. This woman is my friend. Over the past several years, we have had countless conversations about our similar life experiences and shared faith. But, as her white friend, I will admit that we’d never before had a conversation about race. Ever.
It was about time.
And, my friend was brave for taking the first step to have the conversation.
Our discussion was real and heartfelt and important. And, it will continue. It also substantiated several things for me. The most important is that we need each other to make this world a better place. Our discussion also confirmed a truth that, in my heart, I’ve always known: The world doesn’t look the same for everyone. And, this even includes fellow moms living in the same exact community. As easy as it is for us as human beings to believe that our personal vantage point is “reality,” that is an incredibly short-sighted way to spend our time on this planet. If we want to love people well, we have to become more curious.
Curiosity really is the birthplace of empathy.
My pastor recently said something so simple, yet profound, about the current racial unrest in our country: “Facts don’t change our minds. Friendship does.” Think about that for a second. For a white person like me to better understand the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I can’t simply rely on the nightly news to provide me true insight. Let’s be honest, so much of what’s coming from our television screens and social media feeds are simply noise masked as “facts,” all clouding our vision during a time when we need to be moving forward with crystal clarity. A heart-to-heart conversation, though? That is real. It takes effort and humility to step outside of ourselves and walk to the other side of another person to see the world from their eyes. It requires abandoning our comfort zones and removing preconceived ideas that we may have held on to for years. But, that’s the heart of where understanding happens. Talking points don’t enrich and change lives – relationships do.
So, what’s next?
Let’s start by being curious enough to have hard conversations with real people. And, let’s be sure our kids seeing us having them. Let’s turn down our TV’s. Leave politics at the door. Listen. Be brave. Choose to not only be accepting of those who don’t look like us, but also stand beside them. In a world where we can even take a global pandemic and turn it into a polarizing moment, let’s stop creating controversy where it shouldn’t exist. Commit to putting relationships over anything else. Become better friends.
And, love each other well.
After all, that’s what curious people do.