I cannot know what it is like to be you.
I can try. I can empathize. I can listen. I can relate.
But at the end of the day, I cannot know what it is like to be you.
I cannot know what it is like to put on a bulletproof vest, a helmet, a uniform and a gun and head out the door without knowing that I will come home at the end of shift.
I cannot know what it is like to be treated horribly and unfairly because my skin is brown instead of white, to know that I can comply with every request of a law enforcement officer and still get shot while sitting in my own car.
These are things that I cannot know because I was born with white skin and because I was never called to law enforcement.
There are enormous political, economic, social and racial components to the myriad of problems facing this country and they can seem insurmountable.
Issues that must be discussed, debated and decided.
These are matters of the mind and of listening to all voices. I honestly am not sure that we, as a people, can do this.
But for today, I want to focus on matters of the heart.
Loving the people sitting across the table from us. Truly striving to love our “enemies.”
Striving to find connection, common ground.
This only starts, I believe, by acknowledging that I will never know what it is like to be you.
I can open my ears and listen.
I can open my heart and empathize.
But I cannot project my experience on you and I have to accept that your truth is your truth, just as valid as anyone else’s.
A whole lot more listening and a whole lot less claiming the truth.
Just sit together. And listen. Then listen some more.
Go think and reflect. Then listen some more.