There's nothing like a death to reveal the intricate web of personal connections we're all a part of.
Several months ago, I attended the funeral of an acquaintance. The 36-year-old mother was the victim of cancer. Because of her youth, her young family and her courageous fight to the end, it was a particularly moving event.
Her memorial service brought together over 200 of the most diverse people you could imagine. Fishermen. School teachers. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. The churched and non-churched.
I overheard more than once, "You knew Debbie too?" At that moment, the surface differences that had kept these people from meeting each other in the past, melted away when they discovered their common bond with Debbie. During that event, all were focusing on their similarity.
Facing death makes our connections to everyone else become visible - and our differences become invisible.
Why can't we carry that vision throughout our everyday life?
Our society has a bad habit. A habit of looking for our differences instead of looking for our similarities. And darn it, we always see what we look for.
If each of us had the strength to ignore the impulses of others around us and upon meeting others asked ourselves "How are they similar to me?" instead of "How are they different? not only would we get along better with others, but we'd garner the side benefit of getting along better with ourselves.
It's true. Our minds work like this: if I'm upset with you, I'm the one who gets to feel the upset. If I enjoy our similarities, I'm the one who gets to feel that enjoyment.
What I do to you affects me. What you do to me, affects you. What we do to others affects us.
In reality, by focusing on our differences, all we're doing is making ourselves feel miserable!
Facing the death of another is a wake-up call to our undeniable similarities.
We all make the same passage.
We're all from the same source.
We're all doing the best we can with the resources we have.
Underneath those differences we've focused so intently on, we're all really the same. Believing we're different only leads to one destination - misery.
Must it take a funeral to get us to think differently?
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz