I have a confession to make: If I ruled the world, it would be very hard (read impossible) to get a gun. I am in favor of the strictest gun control possible. I write this not to invite hate emails from gun enthusiasts, but to admit that this is one opinion that makes it hard for me to be logical and open-minded. So when I read the posts on Facebook that are some version of the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” I have to go into what I call “extreme counter thinking.” I have to fight all my reactive tendencies and remind myself that these folks are my friends, some of whom have been there for me through thick and thin. And will be so again, no matter our differing opinions on guns.
There’s a Snow Patrol song, “This Isn’t Everything You Are.” And I’ve kept that title in mind recently as some divisive issues have raised their ugly heads. I know I disagree with some folks and I know they feel betrayed. But I am still the person who has supported them before and will again. I just don’t agree on this one thing. Surely, total agreement on every issue can’t be the only thing that holds a relationship, whether friendship or colleague, together.
There are times when talking doesn’t work, as both sides simply try unsuccessfully to show that the other is callous, stupid, cowardly, heartless (feel free to add your own). And then both people walk away, feeling more hurt and misunderstood.
Sometimes the only option is to realize that these folks are good people, and good people can disagree. And even if the disagreement is deep and painful and we’re angry, deeply angry, let’s keep in mind that this disagreement isn’t everything we are.