I have been watching the AppleTV show “For All Mankind.” If you’re not familiar, it is well done and thought-provoking. The premise: Russia beat the US to the moon in the 1960s, and the show picks up on the aftermath…intense disappointment, second-guessing, loss of purpose, heightened political scrutiny, and overriding science….everything that a country in mourning would face.
One thought from last night’s episode – how beautiful is our world that we each bring different talents and interests to the table. Here’s the story. The astronaut that was scheduled to fly to the moon on Apollo 15 (assuming 11 had been first) spends his period of mourning at home with his family. He hadn’t been home much and took some solace in being able to teach his son to ride his new bike. He failed; his style didn’t provide the motivation the child needed to succeed. When his wife stepped in and the kid took off, he looked forlorn.
Fast forward to Apollo 15. The political race has moved from “land on the moon” to “establish a base camp.” He and his partner are sitting in the LEM, on the moon, sharing some very personal feelings after a near-tragic but ultimately successful venture. He tells the story of feeling like such a failure because he couldn’t teach his son to ride a bike. His partner reminds him that everyone has a talent, and not everyone has every talent. That’s my paraphrase – not sure it went exactly like that but that makes my point.
We are blessed
As humans, we are so blessed to have such complex lives that some shine, some struggle, but ultimately, we each have our strengths and talents which can shine at the right time.
Each of our opinions has validity. Some agree with our opinion, many others don’t. Our opinion is formed by our lives, our experiences, and our culture.
That is beautiful because those experiences fill in gaps for others who never had the chance to see the world in just that way. We should honor those differences.
Are we a little testy, though?
Lately, however, I find myself jumping to conclusions. A friend, who I know has different opinions about our country’s direction than I have, posted a FB meme that said, “Would you blindfold yourself and eat whatever someone fed you? No? Then stop letting the media do it to you.” Indignant, I sent it to my husband saying, “I am tempted to ask specifically what I am being fed.” Wisely, he responded, “The statement is accurate.”
Oops. Was I just caught in jumping to a conclusion based on my preconceived context? There is nothing inherently wrong with that statement, no matter what your political leaning.
I know I am still somewhat “loaded for bear.” I am grieving over what is happening in our country, the loss of friends, and the fear that “something” is right around the corner. I need to work on that.
My outlet for discussing my worries is a group I belong to on LinkedIn where political debate is engaging and, for the most part, polite and respectful. It is a place for me to learn. I hope I have something to offer others because I do learn from them.
But that “political” context is always with me while there, and maybe I need to back up, check my own context at the door, and follow what I preach by asking questions instead of making statements.
Okay, I’ll give that a try. It’s all about learning, after all.
Back to our blessings
That brings me full circle to how we are blessed to have so many different talents, ideas and perspectives. Man, it would sure be a boring place if everyone was like me. Heck, I wouldn’t have anyone to debate.
Seriously though, I do see an opportunity for our country to take pride in our differences and realize how far we have come, how well we have survived (we really do have a wonderful country filled with opportunity), the fact that our government has survived so many challenges and still functions (no, I’m not debating that here).
What we have is truly amazing. But it is fragile and requires that each of us put away our preconceived context. That’s really hard, but it is doable.