Erosion

One of my friends mentioned this podcast by Radio West — Doug Fabrizio interviews Terry Tempest Williams on her book, Erosion. It struck a chord with my friend, so she shared it. And then it struck a chord with me. She compares the erosion of our landscape, and all of its change, with other changes we’re dealing with.

Her book was inspired by changes in the world, specifically by our 2016 election.

Whether liberal or conservative — or in between or not — it feels like the world is driven by hate right now. Trump is, as Williams points out, just a symbol of that hate. Liberals tend to hate him. Conservatives tend to like him because he hates liberals. Media outlets love him because we’re attracted to all that hate.

And this isn’t just going down in the US either. It’s all over the world. This hate could kill us all. It’s eroding the world as we know it.

Or is this erosion just a season of evolution?

What if we each need to reach deeper, and remember who we really are… and remember who others really are, too? Be they Persians or Maga Fans, or Christians or Muslims, or Atheists, or Millennials, or Boomers, or the gay couple down the road. We can’t reach each other without seeing this terrible chasm that’s grown between us.

“How do we find the strength to not look away? How do we recognize that grief is love? […] I think what kills us, spiritually, creatively, and takes our lives literally, is the isolation. I think what I’m trying to say, Doug, is engagement is the prayer.”

– Terry Tempest Williams, in this interview, i

Have we forgotten we’re all human? It kinda seems in some ways we have, in this world of us vs. them, and where we assume the enemy of my enemy is our friend. It seems we’ve forgotten that we’re really all in this together whether we like it or not. Building bubbles and walls and echo chambers where we only permit People who are just like Me will only make it worse.

Fabrizio says we have to embrace failure and uncertainty, or we’ll never move forward, personally, interpersonally, or as a society. And Williams points out that this change is going to take work. It’s going to take time. It’s going to be slow and sometimes painful. But … I think we can do it. And I think we’ll be better for it in the long run. And whatever we believe personally, we can become our wisest selves.

The interview goes on to talk about life, religion, family, education, culture, and conflict. And change through all of it. Give it a listen, and if you like it let me know. I don’t agree with her on everything, but I don’t have to: it’s okay to connect with people who are different from us. In fact, we need to. I hope it connects with something in you, too.