One of the headlines in the news this week was that Senator Portman, a Republican senator from Ohio, changed his views on gay marriage. Why? Because his son is gay and he has come to understand that his son, whom he loves, should have the right and the privilege of getting married if and when he falls in love.
It often happens that way, I think.
Insights are arrived at;
Views are changed;
When the other becomes our neighbor,
And when the stranger becomes a friend.
At least that is how it has happened in my life.
I began grappling with my understanding of homosexuality when a good friend sat down with me and told me he was gay. And, I began to understand homelessness differently when I handed a homeless man a sandwich and took the risk of introducing myself. And, I began to understand poverty as I met families who were doing all they could to survive, and worked side by side with them to help them rebuild some part of their lives. The examples could go on, but you get the idea.
I read somewhere that in many languages the words stranger and enemy often have the same root, No surprise, really. We tend to be cautious around and sometimes even afraid of those who are different. Those who look different or who speak differently or who come from different backgrounds or who have different view and values than we are used to.
It is when we get “up close and personal;”
When we learn each other’s names;
And listen to each other’s stories;
That we discover we are more alike than we are different;
And, that similar hopes and dreams inspire us and turn us towards a better future for us and for all.