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It's Hard to Hate Up Close

I don’t want to write about the pope. I don’t want to write about the 20 page document of discrimination the Vatican put out into the world this week to encourage Catholics to continue to marginalize one of the most marginalized groups of people in the world.

I don’t want to write about these things, but I can feel the added pain, fear and disappointment that this document brings into the world and I want to help to soothe it.

I want to be the reminder that it’s hard to hate up close. It’s easy to hate an idea and to dehumanize the people we connect with that idea. But, it’s harder to hate someone once you know their favourite colour, the name of their cat and what they dreamed of when they were a child.

It’s hard to hate up close. So lean in.*

When we close ourselves off to each other, everyone loses. 

My inlaws are Catholic, my two best friends are devout Christians and another good friend of mine is a Muslim. I am a non-binary, queer pagan and yet there is love, friendship and community built between us.

We are all more the same than different. 

We can all experience wonder at a rainbow spreading across the sky, we all love our children and want them to be safe and happy, we all can find joy in indulging in our favourite foods.

We are all human.

If you had the chance to save the life of a drowning person, would you first try to check and see if their ideals matched yours? If their gender was aligned with what you believe it’s supposed to be? Whether or not they’re a Trump supporter?

Or would your humanity move you to ease suffering and save a life?

Too many of us have moved to a place where we’re living through our heads and not our hearts. We convince ourselves that we’re right and can only accept other people who are also right.

I get it, we’re pack animals and it’s in our nature to build an us and them idea in our minds and then attack and protect based on that idea.

But, I also know that we were each gifted with a heart. With an emotional intelligence that allows us to transcend our thoughts and ideas and just be with each other.

When you see someone sobbing over the loss of a loved one, the tears spring to your eyes because we know each other in sadness.

When you see someone bursting with joy over the birth of their first child, you feel the corners of your mouth lift because we know each other in joy.

Joy, sadness, elation, hope, despair have no race, religion, ideology, gender, sexual orientation or class. This is where we can really see each other and come together in openness and respect. 

This is where we live in our hearts.

*Brene Brown quote, not sure if those were her exact words, but definitely her exact sentiment.

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