From Our Minister, Rev. Tony Lorenzen

“Through the Other’s Eyes”

Dear Beloveds,

One of the most important and powerful moments of grace we can experience is to see the world through the other’s eyes. Even with the people we love the most in our most intimate relationships, we can never actually know what it’s like to be the other person, to feel exactly as they do. Yet we all have the ability and the experiences of entering the heart space of another; of feeling a glimpse of someone’s pain or joy or an overwhelming oneness and bond with another in their hurt or their celebration.

We open ourselves up to seeing through another person’s eyes when we hear their story. Not the story we make up about them in our head, but when we are silent and listen deeply and give another our full attention and hear their story, their experience, as they experience it, free from whatever judgement or preconceived notions we have of what their experience is like because we have or know of similar experiences.

In the spring of 2016, I read an essay by Benjamin Hart about the increasingly hostile and ugly political climate rising in that year’s elections campaign. Hart wrote in the form of an open letter to his children, and he tells them that one day they will have to come to terms with the realization that they are privileged children – they are safe, loved, and protected, and in a very real sense, people do listen often to their story. Then he tells them that as they grow older they will realize their privilege is a hard thing to come to terms with, and they may even reject the idea at first.

Hart says, “Privilege can make you stop hearing people’s names and caring about their stories. Privilege can make you afraid. Afraid that people will take what is yours or what you feel should be yours… You can let your privilege make you afraid. Or you can let your privilege make your world bigger. You can use it to make this place where you are living and growing better. By hearing as many different stories as you can. And remembering as many names as you can. Without hearing and seeing the other and hearing and seeing the world through the other’s eyes, we have no concept of what it is like to be any of things which we ourselves are not: poor, sick, young, old, gay, straight, cis, trans, black, Latino, Arab, Muslim, male, female, liberal eyes, conservative eyes.”

This month spend time contemplating and reflecting on the idea of pluralism, remember that your eyes are not the only ones that see, and your story is not the only one that needs to be told. Raise your voice, add it to the conversation, but make plenty of space for the other voices. Tell your story, be proud of it and own it, but make room for everyone else’s story, too.

Wishing you grace and peace,

Rev. Tony