In recent years, I have been convicted of a startling truth: I don’t really know my American neighbors. Certainly I have relationships with people in my neighbor hood. Those bonds are blessings. Yet, they aren’t the only relationships that shape me. I need more .
More first hand stories of narratives different from mine.
More voices reminding me that adding mine makes an impact
More opportunities to be present with someone on a “front porch”; wherever that may be
More feasting at a table with diverse views and unfamiliar tastes
More gleanings of wisdom from those who have lived through events I have only heard about
Our country is a vast, beautiful landscape of cultures. Some are ethnically rooted. Many are geographically based. But truthfully, we have formed invisible property markers between each other. Sure, we may visit ethnically specific neighborhoods for a “taste” of culture, Rural areas and architecture become inspiration for chic decor and weddings. We bask in the conveniences of electricity, transportation, and factory made goods. We hold preconceived notions about neighborhoods-from the wealthiest to the most poverty stricken. From metro areas to small towns.
But do we know who we are?
Following the last election, my ears were pierced by the sounds of crying voices. Some were familiar. But others were new. How had I failed to hear them? While political views appeared to be the primary factor for the broken spirit woven through our nation, I would argue that the underlying problem is that we aren’t listening to each other. As I stated in a previous post, it “requires vulnerability. Letting go of the walls of our cause and standing in the same space. Acknowledging that at our core-we our both humans-created in the Image of God. We come bearing our imperfections and our common longings for validation.” https://stephaniejthompson.com/2016/11/14/the-hard-work-of-being-neighbors/
So I’m on a mission to to create a movement of sharing stories. In June, I am embarking on a journey to connect us. Stay tuned for details. It will be an an opportunity to learn more of our collective story. How can we know who we are if we don’t know who we are?
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