Making Peace One Person at a Time

Making Peace One Person at a Time

Did I ever tell you about Mike? Mike is dead now, but for about twelve years we met regularly to share our life stories. I gave a eulogy at his funeral. We had a lot in common. Mike, like me was an Irish Catholic, we were about the same age, we both grew up in the Midwest… There was also much we didn’t share especially when it came to politics. Mike was a steadfast Republican and a big time labor lawyer who helped his clients fight unions. I am and have been all my working life, a staunch Union supporter. Those positions put us at polar opposite politically.

I had never heard of Elizabeth Lesser when Mike and I were getting together, but we were doing just what she suggests in the above December 2010 TED Talk, Take “the Other” to lunch and what I am suggesting in this short post. Find someone who thinks the polar opposite about some issue you feel strong about (if you’re like me that won’t be too difficult), decide on a goal and agree to the following rules: “…don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious; be conversational; be real. And listen…[use questions like] Share some of your life experiences with me. What issues deeply concern you? And what have you always wanted to ask someone from the other side?”

Why would you want to do this? If you are like me, in a short lunch hour, you’ll learn more about yourself and what is important in your life than if you spent a lifetime sharing with people who think like you. More importantly, I suspect you’ll learn like I do when I follow Lesser’s advice, we all have a lot more in common than what separates us. I really like how Lesser ends her brief talk with the Runi quote: “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

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