The Recovering Farmer

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Difference of Opinion

Some time ago I quit watching news. I had had enough. Kind of like supper this last weekend. And what a supper it was. I walked in feeling very hungry. I had a delicious meal set in front of me. I ate. It was awesome. The only disappointment was that I did not have room for more. Back to the news. Wait a minute. Another thanksgiving meal before I get to the point. Now I need to diet. Or exercise. Or both.

Why is it that I have become more aware of the difference of opinions? Perhaps it is the Municipal elections happening. Then again we only see coverage of the mayoral race in Winnipeg. Why is it that I am not aware of my own municipality, the area I live in? I suppose it boils down to media coverage. I get what I read.

We were not meant to agree. In fact, sometime ago, I was involved in a discussion on a particular verse in the Bible. And before you quit reading because you really are questioning what a recovering farmer really knows about anything biblical, rest assured, I don’t. However from the earliest memories I have anything biblical was quite important. That just happened to be the home I grew up in. I also fully understand that when it comes to biblical matters there are numerous and diverse translations and interpretations. And quite frankly I find myself agreeing with the following quote. “A dangerous book the Bible is. It can be made to say anything, its meaning in the eye of the beholder.”

I used the story of the tower of Babel to make my point. Long story short it pertains to the world a long time ago. A world where everyone seemed to agree. In their zest to achieve a deeper understanding of God the people decided to build a tower. A tower that would reach, dare I say penetrate, heaven. When God saw what was happening he put a quick halt to that. Suddenly people could not agree anymore. There was a difference of opinions. Even their language changed to the point that they could not understand each other. God did not see fit that people would be of one opinion, one language, or a common goal.

For some strange reason that story gives me some comfort in the fact that we do have a variety of opinions. There are two sides to every story. In fact, in my mediation work, I sometimes hear about three or four sides to a story. Sometimes our recollection changes. Sometimes our story changes. Is that bad? Me thinks not. We need to gain a better understanding of other people’s opinions. At times we even need to adjust our own thought patterns. Through understanding comes a deeper appreciation for others.

In that same vein many of us have a certain passion in life. Whether that is climate change, mental health issues, environmental issues, gender equality, or strife in different parts of the world. It can become frustrating when others don’t sign on. We find it difficult when others don’t “get it”.

What is my point? I have no idea. I once said that I wished for world peace. And I do. However, I fully understand that my work comes from people who do not agree. So I need to deal with it. I also fully understand that conflict will happen. At home, in the community, and in the world. However, we can all do a better job of being tolerant, respect each other, and gain a better understanding. We don’t need to agree. But we can still be friends. I think. Make it a good one.

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