“The rivalry is with ourself.” – Luciano Pavarotti
Saturday morning a good friend of mine messaged me from the Texas State Fair, “It’s 9:08 and you can already feel the hate.” the text said. He happens to be an OU fan, but he is also one of the most empathetic and gentle people I know. Later he sent me a pic from the stadium, with other fans making the upside-down horns symbol. I texted back, “I think it speaks volumes when a community defines itself by using the negative of their enemies’ symbol.”
Before you text, email or come see me to defend OU fans, don’t bother. This is not about that, it just happened to be one small example of a much larger issue that got me thinking.
How often are we known for what we’re against instead of what we are for?
Since the beginning of time it has been easier to stand against than to find something to stand for. “Against” is fueled by our baser desires and motivations. Anger, fear, hate; these are the emotions and fuel for against. It is easy to say, “I don’t want that.” Additionally, against is exclusive, and for some reason we like to be part of an elite or special group.
“For” takes more effort.
To be for something means to have better defined goals and more developed concepts of what we want. “For” tends to be inclusive and open, things that are difficult and somewhat scary. “For” requires effort and thought rather than reaction and impulse. It is harder, but it is better.
I want to belong to a community that is “for” things rather than “against” things.
I want to be “for” treating every single person with respect and dignity since we all have the same value. I want to be “for” equality in practice as well as principle. I want to be “for” safe workplaces and neighborhoods and cities. I want to be “for” asking what it would feel like to be another person, before we judge them. I want to be “for” loving people before we lecture them.
I want to live and work and invest in a community that is “for” these things too.
I love being an American. I think many things about our form of governance and our culture are significant and valuable. However, I am ashamed when as a nation we act like spoiled teenagers and bullies to those who think and act differently.
I love Oklahoma. I’m proud that my ancestors came here in covered wagons and on the Trail of Tears and have been here since before statehood. However, I am ashamed when people calling themselves Oklahomans treat others disrespectfully over a football game.
I identify as a Christian. I’m not ashamed of that and we operate our company in congruence with the morals and ethics we find in the Bible. However, I am ashamed of many of the things the “church” has done throughout history in the name of Jesus. I am ashamed that we are mostly known for what we are against and not what Jesus said we should be for; Love.
Kimray is a place where we treat each other with love and respect. Where we ask what another’s life is like rather than judge. Where we take care of each other and those around us. Kimray is a place where we are “for” rather than “against.”
Maybe if we keep it up, others will follow. Maybe we can make a difference in other’s lives by changing the landscape where we live and work. Maybe we are the ones to act differently so others know what it looks like. Maybe? No, definitely. That is who we are, that is why we exist, and that is The Kimray Way.