By Elise Bourg ’20
Most people and I have found that talking can get you in trouble. In elementary school, teachers constantly wrote me up for talking, and in third grade, I even got a conduct notice for using sarcasm with a teacher. If you know me at all or are in any of my classes, you would know that I still love to talk. I love discussion and lively conversation and learning and educating myself on all sorts of topics. Growing up in a household with two parents who were theology majors, I loved to question them about all aspects of my faith, and sometimes my mom would play devil’s advocate with me to help me understand why someone may think differently than I do. However, the amount I talk is something I am trying to work on and I think it is something many people can work on. In a society where people love to have their voices heard, no one really ever takes the time to listen.
You may be wondering – this is a Mass about justice awareness. How do talking and listening relate to that? It matters a lot more than you would think. If people are constantly shouting their opinions, beliefs, and criticisms and never take the time to actually listen to their opponent or someone who has a concern, our society will never make any progress. It will just be constant noise, chaos, and confusion. If people think their opinions are the only correct ones, those people who really need their voices heard, will never have that opportunity and will never receive the justice they deserve.
There is a YouTube channel called Jubilee, which has a series called Middle Ground. They bring in people from opposing sides of every sort of issue you could think of and have them sit down and try to have a healthy dialogue to see if they can reach a middle ground. The people are not there to change each other’s minds; they are simply there to listen and understand the other side.
As a society, there is no possible way for us to all agree on anything subjective, but we can always try to understand people instead of instantly judging. Now, I want everyone to close their eyes and join hands. I want everyone to inhale and exhale. Ok, you can let go now. Now think about this. Our breath is what keeps us alive. That for a fact is something all of us in this room have in common. No matter what gender, race, ethnicity, color, size, socioeconomic background, or religion, in that moment of pure life, we were unified as human beings, as sisters and brothers in Christ.
We are all different and that is the beauty in humanity. We all have various opinions and views and that is ok. Nevertheless, we all deserve to be treated equally, to be treated justly. We do not have to agree on everything, but we do need to remember to love each other first as brothers and sisters in Christ, listen to each other, and educate each other so our opinions on the world can be more well-rounded and be used to improve our society.
If you meet someone who has a different opinion than you do, whether it be religion or politics, or whether it is right to say ALLmond or Almond (it is ALLmond), do not start with a fight and angry words. Take the time to sit, listen, and understand, but most of all take the time to love. Thank you.