A forwarded blog from a Newman Center student written by a relative named Anna …from the blogsite: An Unfinished world… (Though I did not write this, I wish I had…)
It was just a fleeting thought that came in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, when did being a “bleeding heart” become something bad? It’s often said with disdain or apology, “bleeding heart liberal”.
Have you ever seen the flower? It’s lovely. It is my favorite flower in the midst of spring in my mother’s shade garden. It blooms pink, sometimes pale, sometimes bright, sometimes pure white. It’s a fountain of heart blooms that sway in warm breezes. The blooms are fragile yet the plant is hardy and comes back year after year, no matter how harsh or bitter the winter. For me it is a testament to the balance of strength and vulnerability, endurance and bright witness.
A few years ago I had the privilege of organizing an event with two scholars who co-wrote a book entitled, Differing Worldviews. They worked in a process they called “cooperative argumentation”. Their goal wasn’t to “win” or prove their stance but to seek understanding from one another, to clarify where the disagreement lay and then to see where agreement and potential collaboration might be possible. Because if our goal is to make things better and not just be “right” then we have to know how to disagree with one another and yet remain in relationship with each other.
There’s no doubt about it, this is hard. It can be painful and the ego can suffer. People tell you that you are naive, wishy-washy, or worse a hypocrite. Compromise – today – is seen as surrender.
I still recall something a grad student who worked with me a few years ago said. He said he truly believes that compromise is often the most radical act. It’s true in the society we live in, to compromise, to find another way, takes strength and courage. To say, “You might have something there…” isn’t easy when everyone around you is pushing you to draw a line in the sand.
I don’t identify as a liberal or a conservative; I’m not so easily categorized. But I think I am a bleeding heart. I’m in it for the long haul and my heart bleeds for those who are poor and marginalized. My heart bleeds for those locked in fear; my heart bleeds for those who feel they cannot compromise. And my heart bleeds for those who think there is only one Way. And I believe that it’s not naive or wish-washy to seek balance, the balance of strength with the vulnerability of compromise, the balance of rugged endurance through harsh and painful times, to be a beautiful public witness, to feel the pain deeply, to rejoice when we are honored. I think that’s what I want to strive for; I want to be a bleeding heart – unapologetically.
For whom does your heart bleed?