A diversity of opinions doesn’t always have to mean an argument. This was the tail end of a conversation I had with my friend Oliver on Facebook today, and it made me smile:

friendly disagreement in facebook comments

For those who can’t see the image clearly:

Oliver: I get that. Sounds like we have different priorities on this, which is totally okay. 🙂

Me: Yup!

Me: Oliver, you’re one of my favorite people to disagree with. We do it so nicely!

Oliver: You’re one of my favorite people to disagree with, too! *hug*

The skill of maintaining unity in the face of differing opinions isn’t impossible to master, although it can be extremely difficult when emotions and stakes run high. Part of the problem is that we’re taught to either to shy from differing opinions because such a diversity is confused with “conflict,” or to barge right in, guaranteeing that conflict will ensue. There are so few models available to us of people actually enjoying the way their perspective can be expanded or clarified by differences of opinion, which is all the more reason to draw attention to it when it happens.

One quote for the road, because I’ve been on a quotation kick lately:

Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one.

Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts.

Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 53)