The world comes with fractures. And it’s hard for people like me to reckon with that.
I tend to think that it’s a fluke when I don’t like someone, or when there’s division. I’m typically surprised when I get into a real conflict with someone. I think warring camps are ridiculous. I want to heal and bridge divides. I want an unbroken world.
There’s truth and goodness in that desire. I do want to bring people together. But I may see that ideal vision to the exclusion of reality sometimes. While there may be ways to heal divides, there is no way to prevent or cover up or superglue all the divides without causing even greater fractures in myself.
I have to accept that someone somewhere might hate me, and that there are people out there that I will genuinely dislike. As I’ve come to think more about this, I’ve come to believe what others have already pointed out – if I want to do anything significant with my life, I’d better get used to that.
Part of growing up seems to be getting grips with the fact that some people may want to cause me harm.
Part of growing up seems to be deciding that there’s no way to avoid that.
This realization is a little small reminder of my own mortality, even when the only threat might be a back-biting comment or slander. It’s a vulnerable feeling.
It’s also a feeling of strength.
I can do my part to heal the world. But I don’t have to treat the fractures as flukes, ignore them, blame myself for them, or feel that they shouldn’t be part of the story. They will always be there in the back of my mind, but they will always be there pushing me to be ready to face challenges, to speak truth, and to defend my values.
To accept the fractured world is a grim thing, but maybe only grim people can contribute to the healing.
Intellectual Influences: There is nothing original in this from an idea perspective – just my own thoughts about this part of growing up. Robert Bly’s Iron John has been a recent read that has made me think along these lines lately, along with some personal experience.