Sunday, September 18, 2011

Positive Differences

This weekend I was reminded of the great value of friendships (my life is definitely blessed; I get reminded of this a lot).  And here is one of my favorite things: I love being friends with people who are not exactly like me.

I love hanging out with friends, shooting the breeze about random stuff, sharing inside jokes.  I love the fact that my one friend and I could both feel the same about the little kitten we tried to rescue.  I love that moment when you’re like, “oh yeah, me too!”

But I also love that feeling when I’m talking to someone who looks at life differently than I do.  I’m thinking of one incident in particular, where I was catching up with a friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of months.  I started telling him about some things I had been thinking related to my future, the sociological research I want to do.  And because my friend is more conservative than I am, he asked some really insightful questions that I hadn’t necessarily thought of.  Even just the process of explaining to him my ideas, I found myself balancing out some of the things I had been thinking.  It isn’t that I thought he would judge me or be unhappy with my original thoughts.  But bringing my own ideas into this interaction with someone different than myself helped me to think in a different perspective than I had been thinking.

My favorite thing about having good, solid friendships with people whose viewpoints sometimes differ from mine is that we are still such good friends.  In our world, people often think that disagreement is necessarily hostile.  I think, if it’s on a foundation of love and caring, as part of a good relationship, disagreement can actually be a very positive experience.

It’s so valuable to have friends with diversity of experience, diversity of opinion, diversity of skill.  If the community you bring around yourself is homogenous, you’re missing out.

Thank you, everyone in my life.  You have built into me in ways that you don’t know, maybe even in ways I don’t fully know.

With gratitude,