A Realization in Iran

photo by Juan Ignacio Tapia

photo by Juan Ignacio Tapia

By: Sara King

Some like to believe that we, as individuals, are not special. That the world doesn't really care about who we are, what we do, or what we think. When I watch the news or scroll through blogs posted on my Facebook feed I can begin to share those sentiments. I become overwhelmed by all the thoughts of others, by all the situations I should analyze or be aware of, and over whether or not I should develop an opinion. Honestly, even my own blogs make me think "what gives me any right to feel as though my thoughts are worth reading?"  

Of all things to make me reconsider my resentment of a potential overshare of information, the Iran deal is the inspiration for adjusting my attitude. 

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Iran deal, America's relationship with Iran, or the history between these two worlds.  This uncertainty is precisely why I think our value as individuals rings beyond our interpersonal relationships. We each have a story, a perspective that can add to the world around us. While I was part of this story, consider me more of a witness into a place often unseen. 

It was the July of 2012 and I was spending some of the summer with my dad in Iran. Most of our time was spent in Tehran, the capitol, but we were splitting some of our time between the mountains, the Caspian sea, and Shiraz. It was a weekend trip to Shiraz, near the ancient capital of Persepolis, and we were staying with some friends. Shiraz was a city full of fresh air, aromatic flowers, clean parks, less traffic than Tehran, and large amounts of history. On our last day we went to the bazaar. The maze of shops was vast, the colors vibrant, and the everyday treasures and smiles abounding. I approached what I thought to be a shop with intricate paintings, only to find out it was a shop of carpets, woven tapestries, and pictures. I was awestruck by all the detail this craft must require. One piece was so lifelike; I could see how a woman's wrinkles were created by a slightly darker stain of cloth (maybe wool). The two gentlemen manning the shop rose to greet me as I entered. They inquired as to where I was from and how long I was visiting. Upon finding out I was from the United States, they immediately conveyed their condolences towards the shooting that took place in the Colorado movie theater just a few days before. I don't think I will ever forget their compassion as they said how sorry they were for our tragedy, as they shared our sadness for that moment. I was coming from a world that knows nothing of the tragedies that take place in Iran. Beyond earthquakes or political conversations, we aren't very exposed to the life of Iranians.

Yet, these men knew of our sadness, our loss, and they felt it with us. Their sympathy knew no political boundary or geographical limit and I was challenged to question how often ours are.

I have story after story of the kindness I encountered in Iran. I have tale after tale of love lavished on me by the Iranian people. So when I think about the Iran deal, I view the conversation with a perspective others may not have access to. This exact situation creates the need for conversation, for sharing our experiences, leading us away from the alternative of being disconnected, uniform, and prideful. Especially as we enter an election season, I am going to attempt to lay down my pride and open myself up to the viewpoints of those with helpful input. At the end of the day, whether I agree or disagree with the thoughts exchanged, my convictions and passions will only strengthen and everything else will appropriately fall away.

The world should care who we are and what we know as individuals, because we are the ones who own the coming history as well as the present conversation. Little by little, all of our stories create the yesterdays that are shared and those yesterdays shape our culture, our language, our politics, and our lifestyles. Let us never stop pursuing one another to further understand different perspectives and questions about the world around us.