This week, I was at work putting glitter on posters and jamming to Disney music with my boss. I may have the greatest job of all time. A song from "Pocahontas" came on, and I was struck by one line:
"You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you."
Wow. Are we sure this movie isn't actually about America in 2016?
I think that this is a pretty normal thing for humans to do, but that doesn't make it okay. We like to be surrounded by people that validate our opinions and life choices. We are naturally attracted and drawn to people that look similar to us. I think, though, that we have taken it too far. We have stopped caring altogether about anyone that doesn't fit our mold.
Here's a question for you: Is that what Jesus taught us? Only those who are Christians are valuable. Only those who follow the right rules are worth our time. Only this. Only that. I don't think so.
I think that He said quite the opposite.
The next line in the song says this:
"But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew you never knew"
That. That is what Jesus taught. Listening. Learning. Loving.
We've heard something like this probably 100 times in our lives, but how many times have we actually tried to do that? Since starting college, I have learned the power of stories. Sharing my own story, listening to the stories of others. Stories are what change the world. We are convicted by personal narratives and emotions, not by arguments and punishments.
Who knew that a song from a children's movie could teach us so much about the way that we should be acting in society today.
There is a lot of fear circulating in America right now. Fear of the unknown, fear of what will happen with the election, fear of police officers, fear of those different from us. Here's the thing: we cannot let fear dictate our lives. We are all human. Instead of treating each other like the enemy, we need to band together and fight for and with each other.
So, today, in the midst of all of the crazy, let's take the time to share our stories. Let's listen to each other and learn things we never knew we never knew. Let's step out of our comfort zones. Let's look at our neighbors - the ones who look, think, and believe differently than us - take their hands, and remind them that they are no less human than us. Let's ask the grinning bobcat why he grins and actually listen to his story.
And maybe, someday, we can learn to sing with all the voices of the mountain and paint with all the colors of the wind.