John Lewis (former US congressman and civil rights leader)
There have certainly been times in my life when I’ve said, ‘oh, how I hate…’. It almost always was related to a particular circumstance that seemed out of my control. I sometimes hated getting up in the morning, or hated having to run to the train in the rain, or hated yet another meeting that I wasn’t sure was going to amount to anything. Yet, when I think back on those times, I now realize that there are so many people who will never be able to get out of bed because of an illness or injury, there are many who would love to have rain on their crops so that they can feed their children, and there are those who would give anything to have a job and earn a salary, regardless of how many meetings they had to sit through.
I suppose the lesson in this, at least for me, is that what we sometimes hate—whether it is a circumstance, an event, a past wrong, or even another person—is often viewed by another as a joy, a hopeful future, or a loved one despite their imperfections. Finding the good in people is far more rewarding than finding and pointing out their faults; learning and growing through experience with other cultures should thrill us, not scare us; and embracing our fears and pushing through to the other side is what makes us brave enough to live with no regret.
Our DHS “family,” of over 250,000 brings us together under the same roof of humanity. We owe it to ourselves to lay down any burden of hate we may have for our past or our present, whether as a result of circumstance or those of our ancestors, and find a way to elevate our collective human experience. We have the ability to make a difference, to seek a deeper awareness of our greatness within, to be authentic and brave, to speak our truth with kindness and respect, and to live our fullest lives for the greater good of humankind.
As John Lewis also said, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Perhaps now is the right time for us to give up this heavy burden.