Communication is complex and can be complicated. It can also be comforting, enlightening, strengthening, and restorative. It depends on how you handle it. It involves give and take, a partnership of words. One way to make it better is to use stories and humor to get points across. Debate is tiring and arguments are fruitless, but stories can transcend our daily existence and build bridges. It is a recognition that we are all equally human, equally flawed, and equally capable of love and acceptance.

Humor, when handled right, can lighten the often heavy times we live in and give us space to breathe. Not everything is humorous – at least not in the present, for sure. Someone has wisely said, “pain plus time equals humor”. We need to be serious where serious is warranted, but we can’t also remain there. Just like a house needs a good foundation, it also needs to incorporate nature to make it a home. Even in the desert blooms sometimes appear, with the arrival of spring rains.

Stories involve sharing your story and listening to others’ stories. They are a sharing of our hearts and minds. Stories can be a window to the soul, if only we listen. They lets us communicate to others what we have in common, instead of arguments that highlight what puts us apart.

It is true that we cannot always communicate with everyone. Some people are so set in their ways and committed to opposition that we are only wasting our breath trying. And there is a time when we must stand for truth and speak up and out against injustice. But we also would do well to ‘assume positive intent” and be ready to welcome others in, until and unless such time comes that the other proves unworthy of that respect.

My dear mom, now gone over 40 years raised me to accept anyone, no matter what they looked like, or where they were from, or what customs and traditions they kept. She valued each as equally human. She expected the best of everyone and did the best for everyone. In this lead-up to mother’s day, it is a pledge I wholeheartedly renew and urge everyone to follow.