ARE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE? It’s who we CAN be, not who we are

In Torah studies I cam across this quote. It’s meant to send us into ourselves to field the question of “what is the right thing to do?” For me the right thing is to abandon safe ideology (where I can avoid some real thinking and introspection) and look at the world in peril and ask what I can do to make a difference. Abraham Lincoln said that the likelihood that we might fail should not deter us from a worthwhile goal. Abraham from the Bible tells us to do what we think is truly right even if it is far outside our comfort zone.

Today’s world has evolved more and more to a simplistic view of “them” and “us.” Adversarial relations are hardly surprising within that context. What if we looked at our world as a holograph where each piece, each person, each process, each event was a part of us? How could we then close our eyes to the suffering of others? How could we ignore the injustices of our society? I seek a world where we feel the pain and glory of others with appropriate empathy and pride. I seek a world where laws are the basis of civilized, compassionate conduct rather than a tool to subjugate people already in unfortunate circumstances. When my neighbor’s house is on fire I seek a world where we all come together to put it out, not only because the fire might spread, but because it is within our power to make something right after it has gone wrong. I seek a world where blame is replaced by learning, where conflict is replaced by a common commitment to right action.

How can this ideal be accomplished? One day at a time, one person at a time, setting an example for our children, creating a safe zone for people in our lives, and setting kindness in motion such that the next person is just a little more likely to “pay it forward.”

“ARE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE? Abraham achieved greatness doing acts of kindness, but his real change and growth came from his challenge with the binding of Isaac, an act that was the opposite of his character trait of kindness. Similarly, we need to constantly focus on what our accomplishment and contribution to the world can be, based on our talents and abilities. Yet at the same time, we need to be ready at any moment to abandon what comes easy when the time and opportunity arises and we’re faced with a situation that requires the opposite character. We need to be willing to do what is uncomfortable.”

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