Life is a journey that is messy, dirty, unknown, diabolical, joyous, and so on and so on. None of us have arrived, and hopefully nor will we ever arrive until our heart and brain cease to be active in this watery shell of flesh. I think people and that amalgamative mess of society forget that too often.
There seems to be little tolerance for any kind of learning curve along this long, treacherous journey called life. If someone commits a crime that crime drags after them their entire life like that nasty piece of toilet paper we sometimes accidentally trail behind us. If someone puts their foot in their mouth over some assumption, they are lambasted as politically incorrect or some racist, misogynist, homophobe, etc.
I can think of numerous instances in the media where this is true. Recently, there has been some controversy on The View about Joy Behar’s comments about a pageant contestant being a nurse and wearing a stethoscope. She remarked that doctors wear stethoscopes and it was just a costume prop. Were her comments ignorant? Sure. But, because of those comments in interesting debate has begun about the roles of nurses. Then someone posted on Facebook a picture of a young teenager vociferously slinging racist words as a black student entered a newly desegregated school in the south during the 60s. The caption to that Facebook post read that even though that hateful teenager became a woman who fought for civil rights later in her life, and that she volunteered many hours trying to make the world a better place, that photo of her will be the only thing that remains of her life. HOGWASH!! What about all the lives she touched along her journey of compassion? They mean nothing to a moment caught in time on celluloid. Really? I disagree.
Do you know the song Amazing Grace? It is often sung in churches and most non-church goers know of it as well. Did you know that the man that wrote that indelible song was a slave ship captain? He wrote the song after he went blind and repented of the numerous heinous crimes he committed.
I am forty years old. I have in no way shape or form arrived and am not all knowledgeable. I often put my foot in my mouth. And it is a glorious moment when I am chewing on that dirty rubber. Why? I learn from others and the capacity of my own stupidity in those uncomfortable moments. I am grateful for those hard lessons because it makes me more compassionate and understanding.
We need look no further than news interviews with politicians to watch the name calling, and the animosity during exchanges about heated topics. I propose we start using phrases like, “That’s interesting, I never thought of it that way.” “I can see your point of view on that topic.” “I’ll have to rethink my position.” “Thanks for pointing out my error.”
Wouldn’t it be a much more just and honest world if we were able to admit that humanity is still on a gigantic learning curve? I am on a massive learning curve still and I am proud to admit that after forty years of existence, a master’s degree, and seventeen years in the education field that I still have a lot to learn about everything.