A Love that Transcends Difference
Throughout our lives we all experience difference: in our family, in school, in the workplace and between nations. Do I welcome difference and diversity as a gift to be treasured rather than a cause of division, exclusion, and conflict? I would like to share with you my experience of living in Marie Louise House where Carers are from three continents with their differences of culture, religion, colour, and language. Their role as Carers is a wonderful service to others.
“A service of love and compassion by people working together side-by-side’ for the good of all.” (Pope Francis FT 227)
The challenge is to live a love that integrates difference.
The Dignity of Difference
Carers from Poland, Portugal, China, England, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Afghanistan, Thailand, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana each bring their own gifts to the Care Home. Their shared concern breaks down borders in order to assist vulnerable women and men with disabilities and age-related concerns. Carers look beyond their differences to care for other’s needs. In these encounters the universal ‘golden’ rule of love and kindness strengthens relationships. From this diverse group a community emerges which focuses on the common good and dignity of all. Subsequently, Carers different gifts are recognised, integrated, and respected. This enables residents themselves to widen their own horizons and respect difference. As a Daughter of Wisdom, it is a joyful experience to be cared for by people who live Marie Louise’s words :
“Do all your actions out of love and with love”.
Who is my neighbour?
In an increasingly divided world nationalism grows and walls are built. People are subjected to aggression, racism and even genocide because they are different. Do I carry barriers within my own heart? Am I open to recognising our common humanity? Have I ever passed by my neighbour on the other side of the road? Now is the time to be open and honest with ourselves. My neighbours are the different people I encounter each day. Listening to how they see the world differently is key to understanding and respecting their dignity. Increasingly, migrants and refugees are being rejected or classed as unskilled workers including Carers. Even small steps walking with my neighbour is a pathway to hope Let us put aside differences so that each person on this earth is loved and respected as ‘God’s work of art’ (Eph 2:10)