“If we listen to each other’s heart
We’ll find we’re never too far apart
And maybe love is the reason why
For the first time ever we’re seeing it
Eye to eye.”
– from “Eye to Eye,” from A Goofy Movie
I have a magnificent memory for movies. (it’s kind of freaky, actually) For instance, I have seen A Goofy Movie exactly once in my life, as a kid. I still remember a lot of it, but what I remember most is how it tackled the relationship between Goofy and his son, Max. The two of them are almost never on the same wavelength, never see eye to eye. Not until the finale, when they’ve finally opened up, talked, been honest, been selfless, and then they find themselves together on the spotlight of a big stage, in the spotlight, in front of the world, together. Turns out, they’re not so different as they thought.
I wish I’d taken that lesson more to heart as a kid. I wish I’d opened myself up more to my parents, especially my father, and to my sister as well. I wasn’t very good at that as a kid, and it’s something I still struggle with. Maybe we wouldn’t have drifted so far apart from each other as adults if we’d done that more. My dad and I have made some progress as we’ve both worked on ourselves, but there will always be the time we lost, and my sister still keeps herself very distant.
And as I look around, I find that this mistake is repeated in spades.
I mean, look at us. We’re all fighting over tiny differences in ideologies, in skin color, in how much money we have. We fight over different tastes in music and movies. Heck, I’ve been witnessing fans of the same material practically throttling each other over differing fan theories and perspectives. How on Earth did it come to this?
When did we get so caught up in our self-identities that we closed our hearts off to each other? When did we make every last detail of what we think or feel or like some integral part of our identity that must be defended to the death? When did we start making everything into an argument, every argument into a rift, and every rift into an unbridgeable chasm?
When did finding our own place to fit in become separating and isolating ourselves so completely?
I know I’m not perfect. I may never be very good at this. But I’m trying to open myself up. And yes, it hurts, as I let people in and they hurt me. But if I try to avoid pain too much, I’ll just end up in the greatest pain of all, alone.
I’m trying to make myself understood, and I am trying to listen to other people’s hearts. I am trying, even I am very bad at it, to love people more, and close the distance somehow. I believe that distance isn’t so great as we think. I am certain, if we just opened ourselves up, and let go of things like “Republican” and “Democrat,” and “black” and “white,” and “rich” and “poor,” as the fundamental aspects of who someone is, of who we are… if we just loved each other more than we love being right, I think we can close the distance.
I think we can see eye to eye, even when we wildly disagree.