Big Life with Ray Waters Neal Campbell no

My wife and I live in a wonderful neighborhood called Jefferson Park located in East Point on the border of South Atlanta. It is charming community with vintage houses and bungalows from the 1930s.  Our house is 86 years old and has tons of character. We love where we live. The thing we have enjoyed the most about living in our neighborhood is the diversity of our neighbors. It is unlike anything we have ever known.  Our community is made up of people who wear white collars and blue collars, people who are straight and gay, people who are black and white and shades in between. There are Republicans and Democrats. Some are highly educated and some are not. It really is a rainbow of diversity and we love it.

Why does embracing diversity make life better?

It broadens your understanding of cultural issues. If you only live around people just like you, there is a good chance you will miss the complexities that take place in social discourse. Having friends who come to the discussion from different places helps me see things from a more enlightened position.

It expands your understanding of the human condition. I knew very few same sex couples before I moved to Jefferson Park. Now I know more than a hundred. And you know what? Some of them are  the strongest healthiest couples I know.  My proximity to them has helped me learn things I could never know before. I no longer just experience exposure to same sex couples through television. I now know them because they are my neighbors. We break bread together. We laugh together and we cry together. And, my capacity for love and appreciation for people whose story is not the same as mine has grown.

Finally on a lighter note, diversity makes for much better potlucks. I’m not knocking the potlucks of my childhood but when you can add a little Soul food, Mexican food, Asian food and vegan specialties to a good southern meal…!! Talk about special!

We love our beautifully diverse neighborhood. It is one of the things in life for which we are most grateful. Our desire is that people everywhere could learn to embrace the differences in others. Our neighborhood is a little slice of heaven to us. We would never want to live where everyone looked and thought exactly the same. The big life requires  embracing diversity. We have done it…..we hope you will too.

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