“See! If more people shared a bedroom when they were juniors in high school, we would have better dialogue in this country!”
This was my comment to a high school friend as we exchanged views on the strong reactive response to Chick-fil-A last week.
Tina and I were fast friends in high school. Although we knew each other when we were younger, we met again in Pakistan during our junior year. She had just come from school in Iran and I from the United States.
We roomed together. We double dated with Tim and Skip. We talked and laughed late into the night. We fought. We went on 14 hour bus trips, all the time. We shared life in a way most high school kids don’t because it was a boarding school.
I love Tina – I haven’t seen her in years but I still remember her laugh, her acerbic wit, her anger, her tears, and her smiles. In fact she’s the only person from my past who still calls me Mare Bear.
Reconnecting on Facebook I get to see glimpses of all those again — but we are no longer in high school. We have both faced life in all it’s beauty and ugliness; life in all it’s complexity. And we don’t agree all the time. There are strong opinions on various issues – sometimes expressed openly, other times in more subtle ways through posting pictures, articles or the iconic thumbs up Facebook like button.
Dialogue is best done in relationship, over breaking bread, over coffee.
We both have strong convictions that could lead to ugly – but we don’t let ugly happen. We share Facebook bread. I don’t think it’s even conscious; I think it’s just an unspoken recognition that we shared much in the past; a past that very few could connect with or understand and this relationship is foundational to our online communication. It’s not planned – it just is.
I don’t think it’s easy. Human reactions, emotions and interactions are complex. I also know there are some things that I won’t discuss online, not because I lack conviction but because the potential for misinterpretation is too high, the possibility of offense equally so.
But there are other areas where I think it can and does work and that’s what I want Communicating Across Boundaries to be – an online bedroom of sorts where we dialogue with respect, at the same time not watering down our convictions to please.
And that’s precisely what I see more and more. I am honored by the thoughtfulness and intelligence in comments; by the real questions asked and the open sharing of conclusions and convictions.
Keep it coming! Share the Communicating Across Boundaries Bedroom. This blog is nothing without you.