Co-exist, as explained in the dictionary, means "to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy."
I was flying with a captain from Madison, WI. We were discussing something and I said, “Why can’t we all just get along?” He said, “Yeah. That’s another thing about Madison, all those liberals with their Co-exist bumper stickers”. He said it with such scorn, like the word was causing him pain just to repeat it. I said, “What’s wrong with co-existing?”. To which he replied, “They don’t mean get along, they mean we should apologize to everyone for everything”. At this point I knew we had a difference of opinion, so I respectfully tuned out of the conversation. Co-exist.
Why can't we as individuals all just get along? Why can’t we live side by side and you do your thing and I'll do mine? Instead, we feel the need to convert everyone to our belief system, or our way of thinking. Why can’t we agree to disagree? Why do we humans have to impose our will on others, or try to dominate everything. Co-exist.
To me, Co-exist doesn't mean to give in or pacify or not stick up for ourselves. Why is it that being peaceful and kind and compassionate is nowadays associated with being weak? (Or worse yet, unpatriotic). So many times, the ego gets in the way of our Co-existing, and makes it impossible to back down and find a peaceful solution. The ego causes so many problems, and I have to admit my own can be a raging beast sometimes. (Just ask my husband). I'm working really hard at keeping my ego out of the way, and I notice it is making a big difference. I might not be able to make nations stop going to war, but I am going to try to call a truce in my back yard. Co-exist.
I love tulips. After five years in this house, I have tulips that I have never seen bloom. They come up beautifully (like they are doing right now), and right before they bloom something comes along and eats the top off. Now, I don't live in the country. My neighbor's house is about 15 feet away. But the deer make a path through the yard each night, and in the morning I find their footprints next to the shredded tulip carcass.
I don't think I'm the only one having deer problems right now. In fact, it seems there is a small civil war going on right now between homeowners and deer. As mad as we are at the deer for eating our plants, imagine how the deer must feel. We decide to plunk down a home plan in the middle of their field/living room, and pave over their bedroom with our driveway. What if a deer walked into your house one day and decided to take up residence on the 2nd floor? Then he waves a chocolate bar/Starbuck's double half caf latte/Budweiser in front of your nose and says, "Oh no sir. You can't eat this. If you do, I'll spray it with garlic or hot pepper or something equally obnoxious. But I'll leave it right here for you to walk past and drool over every day." Co-exist.
No, I haven't lost it. And this isn't where the crazy part comes in. I am actually kidding about the deer in the house thing. Although, the next time I see a deer jump through a video store window on the evening news I no longer have to wonder, "What was he thinking?" Maybe I will have more compassion when I gaze out the window at my tulip nubbs this year. Co-exist.
There was a very lucky ant on my airplane this afternoon that benefitted from my new found compassion. He was crawling on my sunglasses, and for the first time in my life, I wasn't able to kill him. I just threw him in the trash, where he could feast on the remains of my rice cake. Stop laughing, a rice cake might be a feast for an ant. Yes I know I'm a vegetarian and we're not supposed to kill things, but my vegetarian compassion for animals has never extended to the insect world before. We'll see if the next mosquito I cross paths with gets as lucky. Co-exist.
I actually have more thoughts on this subject than I realized, so I am going to continue it in another post. I've decided that I'm going to take some of the pressure off of myself. Instead of having to post every day, I'm just going to commit to 365 posts in one year from the day I started. That way if I don't have time to do one or don't have anything to talk about, we don't both have to suffer.