Tammy Lenski writes about her most recent experience as a volunteer for the Best Friends Animal Society and their efforts in the Hurricane Katrina area. The temporary sanctuary/triage unit/field hospital/reunification center just north of the Louisiana border in Tylertown, Mississippi has attracted volunteers throughout the country. In a battered place with far from optimal conditions, one might expect to see all kinds of conflict. She noted that none was to be found. In Tammy’s reflection for why this was, she writes:
It’s the power of feeling passionately about why we were there. The power of believing, first and foremost, that our mission was to help these animals, and understanding implicitly that having our own way or convincing someone else that we’re right or the righteousness of feeling tread upon were all less important than keeping these animals alive, helping them heal, and helping them find home again.
It’s surprisingly easy to set differences aside when we’re focused on what brings us together.
Sometimes it amazes me what petty and minor strife we allow into our relationships. We let the most foolish of things drive wedges between us and our loved ones. We cling to our few competing differences like there’s no tomorrow and forsake the many heartful similarities that bind our hopes and dreams.
None of this is to say that I’m without my own problems on this issue. I have my own family squabbles friendly flare-ups to contend with. Yet, there’s something in Tammy’s post that has nudged me toward a deeper reflection. I find myself asking why its so much easier to get attached to our differences of opinion rather than the similarities.
Whatever the answers, I honestly believe the power and spirit lies in those common bonds that bring us together.