Make space for your friends' shortcomings

To review:

1. Do not impose my interpretation (and expectations) of how the world SHOULD work on others and 2. Believe folks when they teach me how they believe the world should work. If I fail to embrace either of these two practices in all my relationships, I might miss an opportunity to develop a lovely friendship with someone who at face value seems really different from me.

It is possible to adore people who voted for the candidate we did not vote for. I know - this sounds crazy - but it is true. I suspect this is a bit more challenging today than it was in the past and I wonder why. I fear it is because we have gotten careless with our relationships. Maybe we take them for granted. Perhaps our tendency toward upward mobility, or just mobility in general, has made it too easy for us to disconnect from difficult people.

My grandparents lived within a four mile (maybe less) radius their entire married life. They had relatives and lifelong friends who lived within walking distance. “Back home” was a drive out into the country, and the country was not that far from the city. I suspect their web of relationships made it harder to pout or withdraw from relationship.

It certainly made it hard to keep secrets. My grandmother was the keeper of confidences. Countless times I was shooed out the door as she welcomed a friend to her back door for a quiet, and often lengthy conversation. Rumor had it that my grandmother knew every secret in Durham but never shared one with others. I suspect this is true. She certainly held mine. I do not know if it was an expression of core values or a real sense that folks needed each other or what. But people looked out for one another, people who were very different from one another socio-economically, educationally and in other less quantifiable ways too.