For eight years, whenever a group of Freedom Tour cyclists completes a difficult ride, everyone celebrates. Smiles, hugs, handshakes, silly pictures. Watermelon and chocolate milk and ice cream. It’s a universal experience of joy and achievement.
You know what NEVER happens? We never divide into men and women, conservatives and liberals, Black and White and Asian and Hispanic. We never draw any of those sorts of lines.
We laugh (or groan) at jokes. We share stories about kids and grandkids and pain and happiness. We eat together and learn together.
In those moments we understand that we’re connected, that we’re all created in God’s image, and that what unites us matters more than what divides us.
Connection, of course, is the reality. In all the ways that matter we’re linked by common experiences and emotions. But, we forget.
We forget, because lots of folks work hard at making us forget. They slap labels on us, labels expressly designed to divide us. Lots of power to be had by creating these divisions. It’s terrible, and terribly effective. And it’s a lie.
It’s a powerful lie.
We’re born with the desire to connect. We’re taught to divide, to see the world in terms of us and them, friends and enemies, good guys and bad guys. We’re conditioned to fear those defined by our circle as “others.” People maintain power and make a lot of money by promoting the lies and the fear.
To see the importance of the lie and the fear to those in power, watch how hard they work to maintain it. They’ll do or say anything to keep their followers from understanding that the divisions, labels, and fears are carefully-preserved illusions.
You and I know the truth.
Love unites. Fear divides.
In difficult times, on our own, we forget.
Good thing we’re not on our own.