on each of us in this mighty river

I love how we each come at things in our very own ways. This used to worry me some, which was part of why I was such a great proponent of education–so that people could ‘learn’ and then be less problematic. But as a teacher that didn’t fly so well, for co-learning seemed far more effective, and now I’m beginning to see that every single person here—every single one, bar none ever–is participating in making us who we are.

What we respond with, what we offer up ourselves in every situation? Is our contribution to the mix. What we give expands. What we focus on grows. If we want compassion and love and peace in this world, we have to let it come from us even when we’re disagreeing with someone else who’s different than we are. By genuinely valuing them, we gain insights on how our own notions may be skewed, may not serve, may need shifting. By reckoning with how thoroughly we are entwined with all that is, we cannot easily retreat to the soul-killing fortresses of judgment, condescension, and anger, knowing full well that if we demean or belittle another being—even those whom we might consider our greatest foes? We demean ourselves. By resisting the urge to force them to knuckle under to the approved program, we become more trusting of serendipity, of how things can turn on a dime when people are showing up to work for their visions of what is good and beneficent. We hear their concerns and fears without slapping them away. We genuinely listen. We consider that, in precisely their shoes? We might do or say the same. We know without any shadow of a doubt, however, that these, too, are of us, and therefore deserve our respect.

To do this is to surrender fully to the mighty Oneness that we are, not accepting social ills as the norm, no, but not demeaning those who have come to a different understanding. Not withdrawing from the fray, no, but when we speak up, we do so while holding only love for those with whom we might presently disagree. To do this is to merge with the almighty river of life, taking our place in the whole as we stream flowing into and through all beings here to the seas of our time-drenched days.

So I thank goodness for all the hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who have different views and approaches than I do. With the tiller divvied up amongst us all? Surely we can transform our nows so that they serve to lessen suffering, to value each being (of any ilk), and to hold us all in grace and healing through the daily goings on of here.

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