Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Getting Comfort Through the Uncomfortable

There is something make the news rounds about a letter written to someone in Ontario, Canada who has an autistic child. The letter's message is awful.

When I first saw it I was aghast, like most people who would read it. I then went off and continued my life. I was reading something that Ayngel wrote about me, and it was about how I talk about the things that other people won't, and the letter and story hit me differently.

The letter talks about how the autistic child affects the other children in the neighborhood, and it was so not in a good way. It made me wonder what it would be like if parents talked to their kids and explained what made the child seem different to the best of their ability, so that instead of fear and judgment there could be understanding and compassion.

If that happened, though, the parents would have to first be in that place themselves.

I have been seeing and hearing some things about our northern neighbors that aren't unlike what I think could be found here in the good 'ole US. Sometimes when I write I wonder if instead of talking about "people" in the world, what I am really talking about is people in the US. I don't really like either option, but there are things that are worldwide that suck about how we humans treat each other. I imagine even in the places that aren't as technologically advanced as ours, and don't have all of the things we do, there are things that happen that suck in big ways. We just don't hear about them, given that they are cultures that are not under the microscope and do not have ways to get the word out, either good or bad.

I don't really want to paint the world with one stroke. It is just that I think about these kinds of things from time to time. I think about them probably more than some because I get to see and experience first hand what it is like to have to deal with those who have fear and judgment and a lack of understanding and compassion.

I strongly suspect many things like this are treated in this way because it is not "familiar." When something is not familiar, it is uncomfortable, and when things are uncomfortable people say and do things that many would consider inappropriate. I am not sure I would say inappropriate, but I am not sure what I would say.

I say this because I am looking more at the root than the action. By focusing on the action, we may take action, but it will address the wrong thing. It will address the behavior. Behavior stems from somewhere, and if it is truly going to be addressed, it would be good to figure out where it came from.

While the origination of something may come one's discomfort of a thing, it can "blindly" be passed down to others without explanation, or words that resembles one because the reason is too unknowingly superficial to be more than seemingly real. How many people think they understand how they feel and why they feel it, but what they think is theirs really stems from someone else's beliefs?

Many of life's atrocities came from those who only understood what they learned from others. At least that is how it would seem to me. Hard to say as I wasn't there every step of the way. Even if Hitler wasn't taught that Jews were bad, he may have been taught that something they represented was. Sometimes we are taught things that we do not choose for ourselves. If he was taught that all life was valuable and precious, it seems there was something that came along that had him disregard that. If that was the case - it was something else he apparently learned along the way.

Did Hitler learn the perspectives he had, and to be who he was? Is it all about learning?

I don't really know. But I don't know that we can totally discount it, either. Those who do things like the person in Ontario did certainly aren't adding to our ability to support one another - unless you count the indirect result of the actions of those like me who address it and it in some way brings about something good because it creates the conversation that may prevent others from one day taking the same route because they became aware enough of something to be have enough familiarity to be comfortable enough with it to be compassionate.

In re-reading this, I feel I need to add something. I am not in any way comparing the woman in Ontario to Hitler. As I wrote about Hitler, I re-wrote that part a few times. This blog entry, like many others, is me thinking out loud. It is me speculating and asking questions. Do I know the answers? No.

Many times statements will bring more questions, and I don't think that is a bad thing. As odd as it may sound, it seems to me that some good things can come out of the horror of some really bad things. Yes. I could just focus on the horror, but I have to wonder if that is the best way for us to retrospectively interact with something horrific.

I feel like I got away from my initial point. That seems to happen when I feel defensive, and like someone might misinterpret or twist my words. It is so very difficult to say things in a vacuum. And yet, the minute you get outside of one, there is too much to put everything neatly into just a few words like we seem to like to do these days.

The point I was shooting at when I started: Talking about things more openly, more frequently may give people enough comfort around things they didn't understand to have the potential to make the world a more loving and compassionate place.

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  1. "Talking about things more openly, more frequently may give people enough comfort around things they didn't understand to have the potential to make the world a more loving and compassionate place."

    Agreed. And thank you for putting that out there.

    1. It is something that gnaws at me...and you're welcome. Thanks, as always for stopping by.