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Updated: Apr 20, 2022

By Suzanne Marlatt Stewart

Life seems more about the gray areas. It is seldom black or white, even though we may wish it were or think it should be.

Take a moment and look outside. What colors do you see? In nature we see lots of colors, dark colors, light colors, vibrant colors and many shades of one color. And, if some of these colors were blended together, it would be a shade of gray.

In this world there is much division, yet basically as human beings with all our frailties, deep down in our core we are all the same. Three non-obvious common core needs of every human being are: to be 1) seen, 2) heard, and 3) connected. To help provide for the basic need of yourself and others, we need to gain clarity around what they mean. What does it mean to be seen? To be heard? To be connected or attached? According to Thane Marcus, author of From Here to There, “To be seen means to be recognized, acknowledged, and noticed. To be heard means to be given a voice, listened to, and understood. To be connected means to be attached to something or someone that is bigger than yourself, a part of something more, something beyond”. We will always run into people who have a different opinion or view life from another perspective. Jane Fonda on February 28th this year accepted the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globe ceremony. She shared about “telling your story”, although she was referring to Hollywood, it applies to all of us.

“You see, stories have a way to … they can change our hearts and our minds. They can help us see each other in a new light. To have empathy. To recognize that, for all our diversity, we are humans first, right?

You know, I’ve seen a lot of diversity in my long life and at times I’ve been challenged to understand some of the people I’ve met. But inevitably, if my heart is open, and I look beneath the surface, I feel kinship.

Let’s all of us make an effort to expand that tent, so that everyone rises and everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heard.” Consider practicing being open minded, vulnerable, transparent.. look for commonality and contemplate the point of view, for the good of all concerned.

Viewing life from the “gray”, or the middle ground, can be a space of peace and freedom. Rev. Suzanne is an independent writer and speaker, has lived in SaddleBrooke. Her focus is “inclusive.” She was ordained non-denominational in 1988, representing all faiths. She can be contacted at

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