This post is the result of a sleepless night due to the accidental miss of a cute little pill that helps me sleep and ward off headaches. No headache yet, so YAY!!
You all have strong imaginations, yes? Well, for the purposes of this post, let us pretend. Let us pretend that the world is full of well-intentioned, well-adjusted humans who earnestly seek the best for the world. In this world, each of us can proficiently work for the things that matter to us, because there is a common understanding that humans are not only good but well-intentioned and well-adjusted. We agree to disagree and to work hard, not to tear others down but to live the life we, individually, embrace.
Here’s a peek into our new world:
- Your core beliefs have zero impact on my core beliefs. Our beliefs fill ourselves but do nothing to dilute the beliefs of others.
- My speech and activism regarding that disease I or someone I love has experienced – it does not one thing to dilute your speech and activism regarding that other disease you or someone you love has experienced.
- Your talent, while prodigious, has no capacity to dilute my talent, however small.
- My success is incapable to dilute your success.
- My joy does not dilute your pain.
- Your joy does not dilute my pain.
- Our joy doesn’t cancel each other out.
- Our pain doesn’t either.
Because we recognize that, though our paths are divergent, we both mean to make the best path we can. Occasionally, this concept is considered respect.
Play time over.
Now we turn back to the world in which we live. The world in which one, tens, hundreds, thousands, millions die at the hands of those who would dilute humanity itself. Those who, however well-intentioned regarding self, carry a deep desire to destroy, to diminish, to dilute. And those who cannot, for a host of personal, biological, and social reasons, adjust well to the existence of others. Other humans. Other paths. Other life.
But some things are eternal. Infinite. Undilutable.
- Like the fact that your words of comfort for suffering Parisians has no ability to dilute the suffering of massacred Nigerians.
- Like the fact that your past transgressions have no power to dilute your present good deeds. And your past good deeds cannot dilute your present transgressions.
- Like the fact that your donation to that cause to which you cling didn’t dilute the donation I made to the cause to which I cling.
- Your freedom of speech cannot dilute my freedom of speech.
- My belief in what is holy will not dilute your belief in the holy.
- My deep connection to a past catastrophe takes nothing away from your deep connection to a present one.
- As much as it is hard to see at times, your humanity cannot dilute my humanity.
The caveat, of course, being: unless we allow it. What we allow in can dilute, diminish, destroy.
Like that time I invited your success to seep in and dilute my self-image.
But allowing is not always bad.
- Your story that I allowed to roam in my heart and thoughts, it diluted my misjudgments.
- Your pain that I allowed to register as empathy, it diminished my apathy.
- Your truth that I allowed myself to really hear, it destroyed my long-held misconception.
And we call that discernment. Knowing what to let in and where to let it be within. Knowing what to keep out, what to guard against. And all the middle stuff. Knowing what to celebrate for another with purity of purpose. Knowing when to be and what to be and who to be.
It is not easy.
It is humanity.
Now, a word to those who would wield the power to dilute, diminish, and destroy my humanity:
Your inhumanity can take away so much. From me. From anyone. It can take the things and people I love. It can take my life.
But your inhumanity does not one single solitary thing to take away my humanity. I will not allow it.
Because human is my race.
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