I look at the world around me and I see a lot of beauty – and a lot of ugliness, too. I guess it depends on what you are looking at and how you choose to look. You can see the beautiful flowers popping up on all of the trees or you can see the discarded petals littering the ground below trees that have adorned their leaves for the year. You can see the lush green grass and pretty yellow dandelions popping up everywhere or you can choose to focus on the brown spots and all those nasty weeds trying to overtake your lawn. Perspective.
Whether something is beautiful or ugly depends entirely on you and your perspective. Whether it’s a couple madly in love and hoping to get married, flowers in your lawn, families finding peace and happiness in a new land, buds on the trees in Spring, a child laughing. All of these things could and should be beautiful. But depending on your perspective you might instead see low life degenerates trying to ruin the sanctity of marriage, weeds overtaking your lawn, immigrants stealing all the jobs, yard waste that needs to be swept and a bunch of kids making too much noise.
I’m exaggerating a little, I know. But only a little. This morning I read one of those dumb “why should I press 1 for English?” comics on my Facebook page. I’ve seen jokes like those a million times probably and never let it bother me but today it did. Why is English the national language of America? Because a bunch of immigrants from England who were being oppressed at home sailed across the ocean to America and tried to build a new life for themselves where they would be free from judgement and persecution. Speaking on behalf of those immigrants, we kinda mucked that one up a bit initially, fighting with the people already living here and making a lot of mistakes. We refused to “learn the language” and weren’t very nice. But we are good people deep down, I think.
We are all of us immigrants here, some more recently than others. And while I agree that being able to communicate with each other is very important, I think compassion is also important. I think that remembering where we come from is important. We are a nation of immigrants – it’s what makes America beautiful. If we could only treat each other equally - all of us – think how beautiful and amazing we could be.
It’s easy to see something different and judge it based on what we know. To feel tired and cranky and focus on the negatives is a normal, human thing to do. Sometimes we just want to feel the negativity for a little while and really marinate in it. But then when we are ready, we look again and see how beautiful the world really is – how nothing has changed except everything. The beauty never left, you just forgot to look for awhile. So if you are looking around yourself and seeing nothing but ugliness, look closer. The beauty is there if you’ll just choose to look at it.
Disclaimer: I don’t claim to have all the answers. I can’t necessarily see the big picture and I know that complex issues are just that, complex. But I do believe in equality, love, compassion and kindness. I think we can all agree to abide by those ideals here. If you choose to comment, please do so with kindness and compassion and an open mind.