A friend asked me to join in a discussion of Valarie Kaur’s See No Stranger at the library, and the invitation ended up being a real gift. Kaur’s wise and practical information toward understanding our shared humanity is so necessary—especially in what feels like an impossibly broken world. One idea from the book has stuck with me. It gives me hope.
“As I move through my day and come across faces on the street or subway or on a screen, I say in my mind, Sister. Brother. Sibling. Aunt. Uncle. I start to wonder about each of them as a person. When I do this, I am retraining my mind to see more and more kinds of people as part of us rather than them. I practice this with animals and parts of the earth, too. I say in my mind “You are a part of me I do not yet know. I practice orienting to the world with wonder, preparing myself for the possibility of connection.”
Some other powerful passages:
“Wonder is our birthright.”
“Wonder is where love begins, but the failure to wonder is the beginning of violence.”
“In the United States, white supremacy is intertwined with Christian supremacy, one an extension of the other. Any theology that teaches that God will torture the people in front of you in the afterlife creates the imaginative space for you to do so yourself on earth.”
“Her name was Faye and she was the first Christian I had ever met who did not believe I was going to hell. I would go on to meet many more people like her and learn that there are many ways to be Christian, just as there are many ways to be Sikh. Our traditions are like treasure chests filled with scriptures, songs and stories—some empower us to cast judgment and others shimmer with the call to love above all. There are no true or false interpretations. There are only those that destroy the world we want and those that create it. We get to decide which ones to hold in our hearts.”