Living On The Edge

Did you know that a new puppy can only hold it for three hours tops? And that’s when he’s sleeping. When he’s awake, he has to go outside every 45 minutes or so. I’m not here to argue that puppies are harder than babies (although I’m beginning to think they are), but to explain why I now wake up at 6:30 on weekends. The dog goes to bed at 9:00, Husband takes him out at midnight and 3:00, and then I get up at 6:30, take him outside, and hang out with him until breakfast. This last part is kind of boring unless I’m listening to the radio or a podcast.

So Sunday morning I was playing with the puppy and listening to NPR very early in the morning and I heard the last part of an interview with Frances Kissling. She called herself the “cardinal of choice,” I’ve got to say, I really identified with this Catholic woman rallying for a woman’s right to choose. I mean, being a pro-choice Catholic is in a lot of ways more difficult than being a pro-choice Mormon. Here’s the thing she said that’s really stuck with me:

“I think change comes about at the margins . . . . People in the center are not going to be the big change makers. You’ve got to put yourself at the margins and be willing to risk in order to make change. But that more importantly, you have got to approach differences, as I said, with this notion that there is good in the other. That’s it.”

So that last part about recognizing the good in others is obviously really important. But it’s the first part about change coming from the margins, or the fringe, that I find intriguing. Moderation is a definitely a virtue in this country, especially political moderation. I’ll admit, moderates are definitely more pleasant to engage with (although I get really irritated when people refuse to take a position on anything). They’re not going to change, anything, though. The center is committed to the status quo. So, reevaluate your positions if you want to get things done.

I think this idea about change coming from the margins is reassuring to people who live on the edges of their communities. If you stick it out, rather than contorting yourself, your views, or your lifestyle to fit in, eventually the community may shift in your direction.

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