We had an inspiring Purple Living Room launch event in our community last night. It was an evening designed to introduce the project to our neighbors. We explained the project and practiced the protocol. We commemorated the year anniversary of the divisive 2016 election with a positive conversation and a renewed energy and commitment to finding Purple Points.
There was just one thing missing...
We advertised far and wide. We talked it up with friends and neighbors. Our Purple Living Room Project Team arrived ready to lead protocol practice circles and explain the project...go team!
And a few people came.
They were fabulous people with great ideas and it was definitely a successful evening, but the question in the back of my mind was, "Where IS everyone?"
Maybe waiting for the COURAGE to talk and listen?
When I approach people about the project, I often get two responses. The first is...
"Wow--you're so brave."
I don't consider myself brave at all, but I understand that it takes courage for any one of us to bridge the divide. Having an honest conversation with someone who disagrees with us
requires a leap of faith that they will not judge us or think differently about us in our daily lives.
That's a risk.
The second response I hear quite frequently is...
"Great idea--it's what we need--but I'm just not ready."
And when I hear this, I nod and say I understand, and I do understand that not everyone wants to be involved, but I always leave the conversation wondering...
Ready for WHAT?
Ready to listen to another opinion?
Ready to exchange ideas with someone who disagrees?
Ready to get to know somebody from the "other side"?
After the event last night, we were debriefing as a family about the evening. We celebrated the positive energy and then reflected on next steps. My daughter, who can be wise beyond her years sometimes, pointed out that I have missed many opportunities to have Purple Living Room conversations in our community. She said...
"I think maybe you're afraid to ask people sometimes."
Her comment made me realize...I AM Afraid.
I am afraid of a difficult encounter.
I am afraid of what others might think.
I am waiting to be ready.
I am waiting for the COURAGE to talk with someone new.
This coming Saturday is Veteran's Day and it seems like the right time to talk about courage.
On Saturday, we will honor the men and women who have selflessly served our country. Our veterans have made countless sacrifices so that we all may have the privilege to hold different opinions and to speak them freely.
We owe them a debt of gratitude...and we owe them a commitment to be invested our nation.
Let's draw inspiration from their model and find the COURAGE to TALK to one another and LISTEN for what we have in common.
This week, be sure to tell the Veterans in your life how grateful you are for their service to our country.
Then, take your own small, courageous step in service of our nation.
Look for someone you may not have considered talking to before and find the COURAGE to invite them to find common ground. I am going to try it...will you join me? Are you ready?
Jen for the Purple Living Room Team
"Meet in the Middle"