“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
~ Charles Dickens
It’s been awhile now, but there were a number of years where I blogged anonymously, just because I felt the need to do so. I wasn’t ready to share all of my questions, doubts, and contrary opinions with the people I cared about. Also, I struggled for a long time with wanting to make the stuff I wrote seem more academic. I am no good at that. I’ve had so many brilliant friends who do that well. It didn’t occur to me for awhile that maybe something else was needed.
It’s easy to get into a circle of great people with similar ideas and momentarily forget that you are still very diverse. Clearly there are important things that bind us together, but we still reach and interact with others in different ways. We are unique.
I’m saying that to remind us that even among the people we like best, we have many different gifts and insights to bring to the table. Now expand that to all of the people we don’t know, and even the ones we currently don’t like. Just because we don’t see eye to eye with them, doesn’t mean they don’t have a part to play. Just because we think they are focusing on ridiculous things, doesn’t mean they may not end up bringing some well needed insight. You can focus all of your time and attention on the paint job and detailing of your car, but if you don’t have an experienced mechanic to fix what’s under the hood, all you have is a pretty thing that doesn’t go anywhere.
Liberty lovers, I am talking to you. If we truly want to expand the ideas of liberty, we have to engage with people in a different way than what we see all over social media. We need to stand out. Maybe less doom and gloom. It is true, there are some really difficult people out there, and you might be thinking; they are never going to see reason. However, I’d like to remind you that many of us were there once. Maybe if we were a bit more encouraging to people, they would be drawn to the sound of our voices. There is a way for us to challenge while still showing respect. We should be thankful for the dialog – for the people who bother to engage, even if they are obnoxious. Who knows what might bring them around, and what great assets they might become.
I think we have all been in a new work situation where someone either showed kindness and respect to us, or was incredibly condescending and rude. That immediately has an effect on how we see that place of business and our role there. So how do we want to be perceived? This is something we all have to decide for ourselves. I have learned to embrace my role as the non-academic and pour more energy into things that I am naturally good at, like editing and being an encourager. I know my hard working friends just need a pep talk sometimes – and I can do that, no matter how I am feeling. My gifts feed the community. After all, is liberty just about us, or is it about ALL of us?