After one of my first blog posts, a friend asked me to share all of the podcasts I listen to on my walk and though I sent her a reply, I thought I would share individual podcast recommendations as they arise. I’d like to give them their full due.
I’ve been a fan of SF for many years, subscribing to various short story magazines over the years, like “Galaxy,” “Isaac Asimov’s,” “Fantasy & Science Fiction” and more. So when I learned about the science fiction podcast called “Escape Pod” I was all ears. (See what I did there?)
This past week I was quite moved by a story called “Joolie and Irdl” (Escape Pod #154 at escapepod.org). It’s a story of interracial love between two actual races, not just two human beings. And they have to navigate the prejudices of family and friends as well as each other. (Fair warning: there are references to interracial lovemaking, but nothing obscene.) They become truly devoted to each other, despite all these challenges.
The podcast was released closely on the heels of the Orlando shooting, and the host of the program, Alasdair Stuart, followed the story with a poignant commentary that’s really worth a listen. He embellished on the theme of “All You Need Is Love” and I found myself repeatedly thinking the line from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony speech “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.” We were thinking in sync because Alasdair eventually added that to his commentary, as well.
In this current climate of tribalism, of us-against-them, we miss so much by not being open to the thoughts and ideas of others. That openness is love. You can’t both push away and embrace at the same time.
My last blog about meeting Abu-Sheik and the simple joy of learning about another person with a different background is a simple example of this. We didn’t change the world by walking and talking together, but he expressed his relief at meeting a friendly face in a foreign county. Anybody out there need some relief? I know I do.
In your walk through life, can you bring some relief to another being? Can you hold love in your heart and be open to the feelings and perspectives of someone else? It’s a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly like the calves or the quads, to bring it back to walking.
And will the other person leave the door open for you? You can’t control that, but you can set the standard for such behavior. Let’s not build walls, physical or psychological. Let’s open doors.