Bridging the Chasm

While on a writer’s retreat
Meeting with creative, intelligent people
Engaging in meaningful discussion
I met a lovely young woman.
As I sat with this woman, warning bells clanged
She spoke of her beliefs
She spoke of her pain of isolation and rejection
And of suffering caused by others’ judgments of her.

Her beliefs were not mine
But I was able to witness her pain
I was able to see her fear
Based upon her beliefs

I was gifted with a glance
Into this woman’s heartfelt angst
As she stoically stood her ground
Against vaccine mandates

I was taken aback and relieved
That I felt compassion
Rather than anger
In defense of my hospital colleagues

I met her heart
Before I listened to her thoughts
Her opinions were not mine
But I was blessed with the grace
To keep my mouth closed
To not “correct” her facts
Insisting on my “facts”
To not judge her person
Based on her opinion
I was blessed with silence
As I listened and heard

I heard her fears
Her hopes
And her suffering 
While stoically standing her ground.

We came together a few times over the weekend
In genuine appreciation for each other
And the gifts we were sharing.
Her ground was not, at first glance my ground

There was a chasm between us
Based upon our beliefs
And opinions
A chasm that could swallow the good, the holy
Residing within each of us
A chasm which has divided our families, towns, and states 
The ravine has been dug by fear
It has been dynamited open
By hate used to create division
Innocent people have fallen prey
To the power of those wishing our world divided
Leaving a void in which power may grow.

Innocent people have clung to their ground
Fearing the cliffs of the chasm
And the stones which are thrown at them

In seeing the beauty and intelligence of this woman
And the pain caused by this divide
I was brought back to the early days of AIDs
The fear, finger pointing and blame scourging our world

I remember “Mark”
The first person at our hospice to die from Kaposi’s Sarcoma
All the staff loved Mark.
Then we learned of AIDs and the connection with Kaposi’s
Mark was our first AIDs patient.
Fear accompanied AIDs
The spirit of Mark helped some of us
Be less afraid.
We were blessed to know
The beauty of the man
Before the fear of the disease took up residence.

So, I wonder, can we bridge this chasm?
Created by fear
Of other opinions, beliefs, politics
Can we see all ground is holy ground?
Can the tree of life 
Join the two halves of the divide?
Understanding does not mean agreeing
Understanding grows from listening
With an open heart
Listening to the person 
Hiding behind the fear
Understanding does not mean agreeing
Understanding can be a building block
A cornerstone to the bridge
The bridge to span the chasm
Unite our ground
And heal the divide

Evil wins
If we do not reach out 
To meet and understand each other
And forego the diatribe.

The hug from my new friend
Was true and gave me hope
That we, the people,
 Might once again 
Stand united.

2 thoughts on “Bridging the Chasm

  1. One simple twig can easily be broken but a handful cannot.
    Together we will stand and be strong; divided we will be weak and fall.


  2. Great picture. I find that listening to a different belief can sometimes teach me something hadn’t considered before.


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