My Grandma passed away yesterday.
Needless to say, I've been thinking a lot about a lot of things these last two days. Mostly this:
I've been thinking about how everyone is the same.
Women People, Men People, Disabled People, Nicaraguan People, Chinese People, African American People, Cigarette Smoking People, Addicted-To-Heroine People, Rich People, Living-In-The-Slums-Of-Brazil People, White Power People, Buddhist People, Spiritual People, Atheist People, Short People, Famous People, Young People, Old People, Republican People, Homeless People.
That on the surface we seem different. We look different. We act different. We speak differently languages. We believe in ideals - with fervor - that are often substantially different. Given the same situation, we make different choices.
Even recognizing those differences, I still believe that everyone is the same. That the differences we perceive between people are illusory.
That we are not different because of our physicality or our choices in life, but the same because of the challenges we face.
My Grandma passed away today. I was close to my Grandma. I loved her deeply.
She was the most loving person I've ever met. She prayed every day for the well-being of her family, her community, and for peace. She loved unconditionally and lived only to serve. You couldn't leave her house hungry. Impossible.
I loved my Grandma, so today I am in pain. I feel pain for the loss of someone who was important to my growth and development as a person. I feel the pain that comes with losing someone who I loved and who loved me.
I believe that all people feel this loss the same way. The White Power People and the Disabled People. The Famous People and the Old People. Given this situation, everyone has the same pain. Given this situation, people may act differently, but those actions stem from the same pain.
I don't believe we are different because of our differences, I believe we are the same because we all face the same challenges and the experience the same joys.
When people are challenged, there is pain. When there is joy in the life of a person, there is happiness.
Again, on the surface the challenges look different. Losing a job, losing a loved one, losing your position in life, losing friends. These all represent different experiences situationally, but at the core are all the experience of loss.
Everyone knows the experience of loss. White or Black. Rich or Poor. It's a pain everyone knows and it's a pain everyone knows the same way.
In the same way, we all know joy. Success is a powerful joy. It's a joy that people will strive towards relentlessly. Most interestingly, people can feel successful doing all sorts of things. Running fast, making money, stealing from others, empowering others, getting ahead of others, controlling others, making others happy. Although it's easy to judge "how" people find the joy of success, we can all understand the joy they experience.
To me, recording the countless, tiny differences between us before recognizing the systemic similarities seems short-sited.
I believe that we are all the same and that our "differences" simply represent own unique manifestations of this "sameness."
That we are same because we share the same path. A path that takes us through joy and through pain. That to be a person is to be a person.
That the content of our lives my vary wildly, but the context of being alive is shared by everyone.
I'm sad today because I miss my Grandma, but I am hopeful because of this thinking:
I see clearly that we are all the same and because I can see that clearly, countless other people must see that clearly, too. I am a normal person. I play saxophone. I am a teacher. If this is something I can see, countless other people must see this, too.
If this is true, then people are starting to have the capacity to truly recognize each other as equal. Normal people can recognize this. This is new. This is amazing. And everything will change.
I believe we are all the same. The same in life and the same in death.
I'm grateful for the time I shared with my Grandma and thankful for all that I learned from her.
I want to be my Grandma when I grow up. She loved unconditionally. Everyone. She was amazing.