I am fascinated by this front page article in the NYTimes. As you can read if you like, 51% of all women over the age of 15 are living without a spouse. What strikes me the most about the article is that I am blown away that a majority of women are living without a spouse. Before you go to any conclusions, let me assure you that this is not a post about marriage, or singleness, or women versus men, it is a post about knowing you culture (ie. context). I obviously did not!
I live in a marriage-centric context meaning that most of my friends, neighbors, and family are married. The number of women living with spouses in my world is closer to 90% or more.This simple fact shapes my worldview. Therefore, I see things through a caucasion, male, married, father of three lens. If left unchecked, I can begin to think the entire world looks like me and those directly around me. In so doing, I can become insensitive to people who have experiences different than mine.
For instance, a friend of mine and I were talking about family oriented days like Father’s and Mother’s day. To me, they are treasured times with my family. But to others, these days bring about feelings less than treasurable because their parents have died or maybe they were unable or chose not to have children. What brings great satisfaction in life to one person can create equal dissatisfaction in another.
I go through all of this to say that whatever your life situation, I believe it is important to have diversity in friends and experiences. Through living a life of diversity, we better identify with each other (walk in each other’s shoes to use a grade school metaphor). When we are able to identify with each other, we can begin to truly value each other. And valueing each other is the starting point for peace in our families, communities, nation and world.
So our mission, if we so choose to accept it, is to get out of our comfortable bubble and try new things, seek out new experiences, and meet people with life experiences different than our own. Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know how your great adventure goes.