I met a young confused man who reminded me of me when I first met Pa Abraham and he had loads of questions about coexistence and accepting others.
So I told him a story of 4 men who had lived their whole lives in the different parts of world but all met and had a discussion. One was a Touareg who lived in the desert, another an Eskimo who lived in the Arctic, another a forest dwelling aborigine and the last, a city dweller.
Each of them, based on where they lived, had totally different life experiences and expectations and they had different cultures and habits formed over generations of exposure to elements unique to each of them.
When each described what “nature” was, no two of them gave the same description and the discussion became very heated and argumentative. At some point the Eskimo was trying to convince the Touareg to ditch his light clothing and be more like and Eskimo because “that’s the way to survive Nature”; while city dweller was trying to get the forest dwelling aborigine to use cars as a faster and more convenient means of mobility.
Let’s not even discuss the fight that broke out when they discussed their sleeping and feeding habits.
They each had totally different experiences and appreciation of what we all call Nature and it was evident that these people could never live together, in harmony, UNLESS they were willing to imbibe the culture and lifestyle of whatever new habitat they settled. They will have to agree to unlearn a lot of what their own experience and environment has taught them.
It was also quite evident that it was extremely UNWISE to borrow and imbibe the culture of another, which is not compatible with your existence, if you intended to go back to your own habitat.
Either way, each was uniquely crafted by their individual and collective experience of Nature and had imbibed all the necessary habits required to survive exactly where they were located. Not many of those skills were useful elsewhere.
Once they all saw this perspective, it didn’t make them like what others were doing, but it made them understand and become more tolerant, patient, accommodating and less judgmental of each other’s habits. They were therefore able to interact peacefully even though living together was still a struggle because each had to imbibe the essential survival culture of the habitat they lived not the habitat they were from.
Basically, they learnt that in Rome, be like the Romans and be flexible and be all things to all those you come across.
Nature is very much a part of God and each person’s experience can be entirely different yet accurate. Some of what Nature dictates to you may be necessary for your personal survival but detrimental to another’s. Same as some of God’s “instructions”. Something may work perfectly for you and may have worked for generations but that doesn’t mean that it will work or should work for everyone else
Peaceful coexistence requires this knowledge.