When I was first starting my photography career I met a man who ran a small local magazine. He saw my work and asked if I would be interested in taking photos for an article he wanted to publish about a friend of his. Of course, I said yes, so he gave me instructions on what he was looking for and then connected me with Emily.
Emily seemed to have a ‘normal’, happy life with few bumps or blips in the beginning. Then one day she found out that the man she had married and had a family, with was actually homosexual and wanted to start a life with another partner.
She talked about how hard that was for her. It went against everything that she knew, her family background, her religious background, and more.
But at some point, she made a choice that no matter how hard it was going to be she wanted to be on the same side as her now ex-husband, (a full article about her story can be found here).
What does that mean? To be on the same side as someone?
We live in a very divided world right now. There is so much going on daily, hourly-that is causing people to push away from each other rather than stick together. I believe staying on the same side simply means helping others to stand upright. To be there for them when others are not, to listen to them when others will not.
How do we stay on the same side? How do we learn to converge instead of diverge? Especially when things are hard or when our core values don’t always align?
It’s not going to be an easy thing to do. In fact, at times it might be one of the most difficult things to do, so why even bother?
Because we need the strength that lies in our differences.
What made Emily decided to be on the same side, other than a genuinely loving personality? She knew that even though there were differences, there was also strength in unity. Emily’s story is just one of many that helped me see the importance of being on the same side.
I want to be on the same side.
I want to be on the same side of kindness. I want to be on the same side as supporting others. I want to be on the same side as respect, civility, helpfulness, positivity, and goodness. I want to be on the same side as love, hope, and human decency.
I know I won’t be perfect at this. I will probably fail a lot, BUT I recognize how important it is to not give up when it would be easier to do just that.
Will you choose to be on the same side?
Emily passed away after a long nine-year battle with cancer. I’m grateful for the small interaction I had with her and the reminder of kindness she shared with me.