Change of Heart

I was going to post a Thanksgiving blog today, but I learned a lesson that I thought important to write about, and in the end, it left me thankful.

As with most days, my morning started with sipping a cup of coffee as I flipped through various news channels. One story in particular caught my attention.

David and Susan Axelrod Put Up Fight Against Daughter’s Epilepsy

The fact that I was not drawn to change the channel is a surprise in itself, because it was a story that involved David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior advisor. Honestly, in the past it has not been unusual for me to flip to another channel or turn the news off completely when he has spoken. With all due respect, all I heard when he spoke was “blah, blah, blah.” That will change after today.

The story was about how he and his wife, Susan, have been fighting a 29-year battle with their daughter’s epilepsy. Strange, that seeing Mr. Axelrod as a loving father and husband came as a surprise to me, and I found it curious that all those times I watched him speaking on politics and policy I only saw him as another bloviating talking head.

It shouldn’t have been such a lesson for me, as it is a subject that I often think about – learning about and respecting each other through open communication. I have even blogged about in the past:
Sister Left, Sister Right
Going Tapeless

I often miss a lot by turning the channel, or turning someone – anyone – “off” when I’m not interested in what they have to say. Perhaps it is a safety mechanism, so that I don’t have to deal with that person as a multi-dimensional human being, only as a flat, one-sided person I can more easily disagree with.

But the story on the Axelrod family showed me – or perhaps reinforced to me – that every person is a multi-faceted human being, with unique triumphs and tragedies. If we open our hearts and learn from them, even those of us with differences might get along better.

And wouldn’t that be something to be thankful for?

This entry was posted in Axelrod, communication, differences, politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Change of Heart

  1. Russell says:

    Very insightful commentary. It's easy to see someone as flat, or one sided, especially if we don't agree with their religion, philosophy or politics. When we start to see them as human beings, struggling with challenges and emotions like ours, it changes our perception. Sometimes, the more we learn about others – the more we learn about ourselves.


  2. Great post, Jan. In our current social/political environment, it's easy for people to overlook each other's humanity, focusing on the differences instead of what we have in common. It's really impossible to know what someone is about without taking a few (or several) minutes to get to know one another. You can't simply look at someone and presume to know all there is to know about them, much less what they've experienced up until now, which is what makes us who we are.What a wonderful lesson to experience and share just before the holidays!


  3. madisonwoods says:

    I agree. This was a very timely post, and a very good for Thanksgiving one.


  4. Jan Morrill says:

    Thank you for commenting, Russell, Jim and Madison. What a boring world this would be if we were all the same, yet we seem to have a hard time accepting and even enjoying our differences. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!


  5. Don't we get "hit" sometimes with the realization that we're not as "open-minded" as we had given ourselves credit for? I learn about humility and love often. Happy Thanksgiving, Jan, Jim, and to all.


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