Monday, November 20, 2017

The Holidays: A Time to Remember That The World is Wide Enough

As we gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving, the divisive political situation in our country shows no sign of abating. It seems there’s no end to the conflicts and confrontations that divide rather than unite us.

Some Thanksgivings are harder than others. What I mean by that is that sometimes, our world may seem at such odds with itself that we’re hard-pressed to feel the gratitude we wish would come naturally, especially around this time of year and around the people we love who may not think the way we do.

There is a lesson found in the musical “Hamilton” that we should all take to heart. There’s a profound truth that runs throughout the play, which was brought out in one of its final scenes.

That scene brings to life the famous duel in which Aaron Burr, Vice-President under Thomas Jefferson, kills his political rival, Alexander Hamilton, one of our Founding Fathers and first Secretary of the Treasury. In the musical, at the end of the duel, Burr sings these lyrics:

            “I was too young and blind to see
            I should’ve known
            I should’ve known
            The world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.”

I hear in these words a call for us, as best we can and with all of our hearts, to find ways to negotiate, resolve--whatever your word for it is--our differences. Choose a world that's wide enough for all of us to co-exist in peace, if not in agreement.

A great place to start is with family and friends. I certainly have my share of ornery family, folks I don’t understand, yet here we are, at Thanksgiving together. I remind myself that I don’t have to agree with their opinions on everything from our president to the cranberry dressing, but I can acknowledge their right to their opinion. I can make the effort to value them, to look for something to appreciate about them, because there is, in every one of us, something (usually many things) to appreciate, if we just look hard enough.

We should remember that “The world is wide enough” for all of us, even when it seems that could never be. During the holidays, it certainly is worth a try.

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