In difference

by Lorin Michel Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:48 AM

I am always struck by our vast differences. In this country alone there are some 332 million people, living in cities, towns and rural areas; along the coasts, in the mountains, on the plains, in the desert. On islands, on parcels not far from Russia. These areas are all completely different from one another. The Pacific coast is different than the Atlantic. The Florida coast is different than Cape Cod than Maine, and then there’s the Gulf Coast. The land is different, the water is different. On the Pacific, the coast in San Diego is different than the coast of Big Sur than the coast of the Pacific northwest. The temperatures vary. It can be 90º here and 60º in San Francisco. It can be 95º in Miami and 58º in Kennebunk Port.

In the middle of the country, the steel belt is different than the farming belt is different than the plains is different than the mountains. The desert is different in New Mexico and Arizona and Nevada.

And inside every one of these enclaves are different people. They have different skin colors, hair cuts, religions, politics. There are differences in how we dress, how we think, whether we like dogs or cats or turtles or fish. There are differences in the music we listen to, the food we like, the places we travel, our heritage, our age, our taste in movies, if we like wine. Do we prefer coffee or tea? Sparkling water or flat? Red or white?

Inside every person is the same, in terms of how we’re designed. The hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone and all that jazz. We all have the same organs. A heart to keep us running, a brain to keep us thinking, muscles to keep us moving. We have eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell. We have mouths to talk, to taste, to eat; to kiss. We have hands to touch, to grasp, to type, to write, to paint, to create, to play.

We have desire; we have will.

Only the outside appears different and yet it isn’t, not really. We all have two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes. Finger nails and toe nails. A head, sometimes with hair. Skin. We wear clothing of some sort, shoes maybe. Hats, jackets. We are human beings and there really isn’t much that’s different about any of us.

Some are old, some are young; some are female, some are male. We are one or the other, but even as a male or a female we still have all of the same parts. Only the reproductive organs are different.

And yet, for all of our sameness we are, actually, completely different. We have unique personalities and thoughts and dreams and jobs and possibilities. We want and we need. We think differently, we have different desires. What makes us different may be the soul. At least that’s what some people think it might be.

I’m not sure what it is but as same as we are I also realize we are completely different. We live in difference, we exist in difference, we are in difference. That’s what makes us, as a species, so incredible.

To have indifference to something is to not care. But in difference, there is cause for celebration. Finding joy in what makes us different is what makes us human. I find joy in that daily. I celebrate the fact that we all think differently, want different things, need different things; that we all live differently; that we love differently.

Perhaps I’m naïve, but as I look at those around me, at my husband, my friends, my family, and I see that we are all human beings and thus the same, I also see that we are completely different. I love that. I love that we are different in our sameness. I love that we are merely human.

It’s the kind of in difference I can get behind. 

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