Face masks in hand, we air-hugged and started walking. A gentle breeze off the Hudson River swirled around us as we shifted from brisk walking to ambling along wooded paths. As kin, our conversation pivoted with ease: there was so much to talk about: kids, mom, our other sisters. We skirted the hot topics.
When she called her husband about dinner logistics, I knew our time was running short. I took a breath and asked if we could change topics to something I needed to talk to her about.
“You and I have different political views,” I start, “and you know that I have this odd passion around cult education.”
With a quizzical nod, she says, "Yeah, so what?"
“Well, I am about to publish an article that includes my views of Donald Trump as a cult leader and…,” I pause. I see her wince and my throat clenches. I force myself to go on. “I can’t bear the thought of losing you over this.”
Her response brings me to tears - then and now.
She looks at me, scrunching her smiling face and says, “Every fiber of my being wants to pounce you and give you a big hug! I will never let our differences divide us!”
My little sister has one of the biggest hearts I know.
A few days later, a friend helps me to see this sisterly exchange is an example of one of my core beliefs: no matter what outer conflict or dissonance may exist between people, when we step towards each other with love, doors open.
Rather than focus on what polarizes us as individuals and as a nation, can we pause and recognize the many links of our shared humanity?
It’s not easy to stretch across the divide.
When I sit in the comfortable, justified room of my liberal mindset, my sister’s devout Christianity can become a walled-off fortress in my mind. But it isn’t.
She and I are simply—and profoundly—two human beings who are courageous enough to step out of the illusionary fortress, breathe deeply in the plein air gazebo and gaze with new eyes into the importance and beauty of being alive at this very moment.