Divided we stand, that doesn’t sound right. No, I believe that this quote has been confused. I believe the words are “United we stand”, but unfortunately it has become apparent that the original words stated are more accurate today.
These words, they make me cringe. Not because of the way they are spelled, how they are pronounced, or the definition of each word that you will find in any dictionary. No, when viewed in that way they are harmless. They are just words, a collection of letters thrown together to create meaning.
No these words make me cringe because of the way they are thrown around in the world we live in today.
I wake up in the morning and whether I go on social media, turn on my TV, or listen to the conversation of others, I am usually met with these words and they are usually thrown together in hateful sentences dripping with the opinions of others.
I am not one to get into a political discussion, my knowledge of the words above are limited to say the least. But it has become apparent to me that many are armed and ready to defend their opinion to the death, regardless of the human being that is on the other end of the battlefield.
This hostility, this hate, this anger; it is not just limited to the current state of our nation, but unfortunately that is where it is most apparent.
Now I’m not saying one is not allowed to fight for what they believe in. We have a right to our own opinion, and we have a right to state and defend it.
My heart is heavy not because of our differences, but because of the malice we are attaching to them when we choose to state or defend them. Our world, not just our nation, is dripping in pain. So why would we choose to tear it down even more?
A poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, once wrote something that has completely changed my view of the person who triggers my fight instinct.
He said, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each persons life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Read that quote again.
The history of every friend, family member, or stranger reveals the same thing. Sorrow and suffering, just like the history of your own life.
Isn’t the combined history of humanity filled with enough sorrow and suffering? So why deliberately add to those pages?
I’m not saying to raise a white flag when it comes to fighting for what you believe in.
I’m not saying to give up your opinion.
I’m not saying to let others walk all over you.
I’m simply saying that the person who is sitting next to you, across the table from you, or on the other end of a phone or social media website is a person. Someone who has a history filled with sorrow and suffering, just like you.
So the next time you are in the midst of a battle, with your weapon of choice being your words tainted with anger and hostility, remember the secret history of your enemy. Maybe it will slow you down enough to disarm your hostility, and instead extend a hand of understanding. You’d be surprised by the power kindness can have against hostility.
Just maybe then we can fill the world with a little more of the love it needs.
Just maybe then we can stand united despite our differences, not divided by them.