Life is complicated and solutions are more complex than we know. Every being on planet Earth has a vision of life shaded by their life experiences, culture, and an environment unique to them. My vision of humanity imagines each individual living in a high-rise apartment that extends for thousands of miles. Each person has just one window through which to view the world. A person on the top floor has a different perspective than the one on the ground floor. Windows thousands of miles apart glimpse diverse landscapes. If you were to talk with someone by phone and ask what they see out their window while you were looking out yours, you might immediately disagree as to what you see until you understand their location.
The world constantly changes. Sometimes the shifts are small, sometimes major, and sometimes catastrophic. The invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, for me, was catastrophic. In 2002, I spent three weeks in Russia with a family not far from the Ukraine border. Elliot and I visited again in 2011. Both experiences helped me realize that a country’s people are not necessarily their government nor their politics. Yesterday, I needed to hear my friend’s voice to know she was safe and to reassure her family that a country’s actions do not affect our love for them. In a despondent tone she said, “This awful war is awful. Like all wars are awful. When your country is a part of it — it’s much more disgusting. And who knows the truth? Ukrainians and Russians are brothers. Brothers that fight now. And I pray to see them to be friends again.” I sensed her feeling of helplessness to affect change. She brightened as she shifted the conversation to the impending birth of her grandchildren, one in April and one in May. As we prepared to say goodbye she reflected, “There is nothing I can do except grow kindness.”
Maybe someone will come along with a golden key to unlock our limited views, and allow us to see things from a new perspective. Like my Russian friend, I will focus on growing kindness.