I was 18 years old standing in the back of my high school church youth group when my mind got to thinking. At this age I was first beginning to become aware of issues happening globally as opposed to only my own nation or community. A desire grew within to gain understanding of any perspective which I had yet to experience or understand. I wanted to truly see things from the perspective of the homeless, the child dying from disease in Africa, and the wealthy businessman.
My search for understanding of wider perspective was based largely on the desire to discover why problems of poverty (and by contrast excessive luxury) exist in our world at all. I wanted to gain understanding of what reality truly is.
Standing in the back of that sanctuary, the phrase came to mind: “bring people together, no matter what our differences, to solve global problems.” I was considering the incredible suffering happening around the world, contrasted by the bickering and petty divisions within groups of faith over what they should believe and do. It boggled my reason how we could allow differences to separate us from doing what we should be doing – helping those in greatest need.
The observance of divisions in that moment of 2005 is something which I can say has perhaps had the most profound impact on the way I view and interact with the world. Each individual form of existence we call a human being is of course, different. How our differences shape our point of view can be starkly at odds. When we see a difference we can respond by absorbing understanding of a difference, as though the difference in someone else is merely another aspect of ourselves, or, we can allow differences to lead to a judgmental view of what appears to be separate in form from who we are.
The greatest unity comes from the greatest differences which are brought together in relationship. Judgmentalism demands unity through conformity, but if everything is conformed to one image there really isn’t any unity, because unity means two differences being joined together. In conformity, differences are extinguished.
Our own differences can often lead us to become insecure. We have manufactured concepts of beauty and what a person is supposed to look like to be considered respectable. When we do not look the way we think we are supposed to look we might be convinced to purchase beauty products, plastic surgeries, or anything which may help us to be more accepted by outer society. But when we embrace our differences, as though each difference is uniquely beautiful in its own way, the entire world becomes more beautiful as we are able to see the fascinating wonders of existence.