Looking Through Others’ Eyes; a Question and a Wish

Early morning moon

The moon was still trying to fuzz its way into the morning through the pervasive cloud cover. Its faint light hung over the neighbor’s house like a stray fluff of lint on a gray wool blanket. It’s the morning after we gained an hour, but it still seems like 5 am rather than 6.

My house guest is still asleep and I’m trying not to let the cats’ curiosity get the better of them so she could rest peacefully as long as possible. She has a long journey ahead today – back to England.

Yesterday was filled with art and rich conversation – and food. My friend was here for a conference, traveling from her home in Bath.  She’d been to Cleveland many times and I always loved to hear her praise the riches of the arts here in her plummy British accent. She was one to know, being a prominent consultant in the arts internationally.

We’d spent the afternoon in the Art Museum, wandering the permanent collection. It was fun to see what caught her eye and how she saw things from her professional objectivity and broad experience. I was reminded how easy it is to take the exceptional quality of our cultural community for granted.

It’s a good reminder, and a lesson, in these times, to remember that many others see many things differently than I do. The election looms and I am dismayed at the raw and uncompromising divisions among us. I am also afraid that, with the potential shift in the political environment – however large or small it might be, that these divisions might be deepened and widened, rather than bridged.

How do we, as a nation, make the effort to look through others’ eyes, walk for a moment in others’ shoes? Can we – can I – thin the cloud cover of my own preconceptions and biases to let the light of another’s point of view illuminate the day? Can I hope that others might wish to do the same?

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