I have been thinking about the events happening in our world. If you focus on all of the negative news, you could have an anxiety attack. There are a lot of negative things happening. The world does not know equality. There is no justice or fairness for many people in many countries. Jews are being required to register again. We have done this before and not that long ago. In World War II German-occupied Europe, six million Jews were killed after being forced to register with the government. So were Poles, Serbs, Croats and Gypsies. Now, women and children are being sold into human slavery. Many will be sold to provide sexual pleasure to rich immoral men. Some will be sold to sweat shops and forced to toil eighteen hours a day. Meanwhile, the Middle East is a never-ending nightmare.
People are angry. People hate others. People are greedy. People want to kill entire races. People are not trusting and often it would be folly for them to be trusting. People are afraid of changes and differences. They forget that difference does not mean unsafe.
Tolerance grows with familiarity. Familiarity grows from knowledge. A lot of people don’t look the same or think the same but really do have quite a bit in common. Every person, male or female, young or old has a story. Learning people’s stories is what ends the fear, makes the other person seem more like you. No matter who you are or what you have survived, there is always someone who has suffered more. There are people around who have faced as much pain as you have or more. Many people have been abused, or raped; people have been humiliated and bullied; and millions of people on our planet have been homeless at least once in their lifetimes.
Hunger is everywhere and it is a sadness that I don’t think people recover from easily. The face of a child who is slowly starving should bring compassion and action to our hearts and minds and not indifference or satisfaction. So a key to increasing tolerance is, I feel, listening to people’s stories. Really listening. Opening up our hearts and allowing yourself to feel some of what they may have felt. They may look different, but they are your sister or brother in the family of man.
One person is beaten, another ends up homeless, fire takes someone else’s home. Some people are mugged in Central Park and some are attacked in Syria. If we can learn to remember how much other’s stories parallel our own we become more tolerant. We begin to care about others. Not just the others who are like us but the others who are different. Different education, different religion, different skin, different ages, different countries split people apart but they shouldn’t. There is only one world for us all to live on, there is no one being who never suffers or never causes someone else pain without meaning to.
Before we start a third World War, or a virus surfaces that makes the Black Plague look benign, or we wipe out an entire race of human beings, we need to stop and to learn to love one another. We need to accept one another and to live with Truth. The Truth being that we are all the same. We were created by Divine Energy. We are filled with the ability to live filled with Divine Love. We just need to change ourselves. We need to accept our lives, accept the people around us and work with others to make the world a better place. Here is to everyone who believes in love, peace, and acceptance. We will all die if we don’t learn to do these things. My friends, my brothers and sisters, I love you, I accept you, I forgive your mistakes, I offer you support in the changes you want to make to yourself. I just ask for the same from each of you, and I wish the same for each of you.
Rio rose. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014