Yesterday, I posted a tempered rant about the legitimate rape discourse, taking up for the victims of rape who, in my way of thinking, have been further brutalized by uneducated comments from a man who should have thought before he opened his public mouth.
I waited to hear from a few friends, knowing they would have a different take on the situation. Eager to hear their ideas, but also ready to defend my opinions if necessary. I was particularly curious to hear from my friend who has a deep and abiding appreciation for a news commentator for whom I have an abiding distaste. We don’t often agree on certain political or ideological issues. But, he’s still my friend.
I also wanted to hear from my friends who are rape survivors, from the atheist who likes to tease my faith, and from a few people I admire.
It’s easy to assume that all the people I like will also like all the things and ideas I like. That like attracts like and so all my friends, in every possible circle, hold the same political, religious and social ideals I hold.
But it’s just not true. As I think through the people I hold closest, it is not our similitude that pleases me and that keeps our friendships vibrant. If I were to make a list, full of headings and subheadings of the character traits and politics of the people I love, it would take more than one giant piece of paper. I’ve got all kinds of wacky connections and unlikely pairings in my heart.
I need them. I need them to push me gently, to challenge my thinking, to show me a different kind of story. I didn’t used to collect such a disparate gallery of friends; I was afraid. The more comfortable I become with my own brand of wacky, the more comfortable I am with others’.
Instead of calling it quits to our friendship, I was able to hear my friend’s point of view—I even read a transcript of the commentator who shall not be named—and we had a pleasant, intellectually challenging conversation. Neither expected to alter the other’s view; rather the point was to dialogue. A mutual sharing of ideas.
It is indeed a gift to have friends who are not exactly like me. It is good to know there are other stories in the world.