Days 17-20: Fellowship and Compassion in Condon, MT

Where to begin?  Well, I guess I’ll start by saying the sciatica has not improved – which is depressing – but I have a plan and I am managing, so I guess it is as good as it can be.

What really helped, mentally and physically, was stumbling upon new friends in the wilds of Condon, Montana.  You can call it luck, serendipity, or what I like to say, the Universe was listening and answered back in a sweet and compassionate way.   Because, when a friend you haven’t seen in almost 10 years, reads your posts and reaches out with a suggestion that turns into a miracle, you just have to shake your head and think, wow.

My dear friend, Ben, whom I haven’t seen since he left BU years ago, suggested I look up his friend, Andy, who happened to live near Glacier National Park.  I contacted him looking for some advise on where to go and what to do and he stepped up in the most amazing way:  he offered me a place to stay and recuperate.  It was a dream.

I spent three glorious days in this cabin looking out onto mountains, watching deer and wild turkeys moving around the hay fields and feeling the love of a group of people who knew nothing about me except I was a friend of a friend and yet they opened up their home to me and fed me and gave me comfort and support.  For that I am eternally grateful to Andy, Ted, Sassy, Don, and Scott.   Thank you, new friends!

One of the reasons I took this trip now, into the heart of America, was to get out of my bubble and learn to listen and meet people who think differently from me.  Now, I have a family full of Republicans back in Delaware, so I am used to talking with people from different ideologies, but what about people I don’t know?  How do we meet and talk with people in a kind and open way that breaks down the divide that is promoted by our current leaders?

When you do stop to listen, you find that we have much more in common than we have differences.  Fear is what keeps us from listening and understanding one another.  The more we can take the time to do this, the better we are as a society.

I love what people like Michael Moore and Sarah Silverman are doing.  They are not afraid to listen and learn.  So, inspired by them, I am trying my best.  (BTW, check out Sarah’s show “I love you America” on Hulu.)

Meeting people who may disagree with me, yet still have compassion and kindness for my situation fills me with love and hope for our future.   We need to stop listening to the fear-mongers in Washington and on TV and start listening to one another.

Please try to get out of your bubble every so often.  You will be rewarded and we will be a stronger country because of it.  If you are a red state Republican, talk to someone from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and if you a Commie-liberal like me, get your ass over to a bar stool in a small town in Wisconsin and have a Pabst with a farmer.

And yea, I am still a Socialist, but I can also recognize and respect what a Republican might have to say and perhaps, we can find a compromise where our needs are met, our rights defended, while protecting the vulnerable and lifting up the people as a whole.  If we can’t listen and find common ground, we are doomed.  But from my experience on the road so far, I am hopeful that we can move beyond this very divisive period and progress to unified country that takes care of the basic human needs:  health, education, equity, human dignity, and respect.

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