Monday, January 2, 2017
Everyone Who Is Like You Is Already Here
We have seen the enemy, and he is us. ~Pogo
[Note: This is as close as I hope I will ever come to something that sounds like political commentary. But it isn’t intended as such. The context might be political, but the message is, I hope, universal.]
I was deeply saddened to see on Facebook someone crowing about canceling a holiday party because he would not welcome into his home people who voted for the presidential candidate he voted against. He bragged about this as a moral stand against the discrimination that the candidate, in his view, represents. Does anyone see the irony of discriminating against people who voted for someone who discriminates?
I once attended a church service during which a new pastor applicant gave an “audition” sermon. Afterwards, the members of the congregation were invited to ask him questions. This church, like so many, was aging itself out of existence. A concerned, gray-haired senior asked him what he would do to “grow” the church. This was his answer:
“That depends on what you are willing to risk. Everyone who is like you is already here.”
Let that soak in for a moment. What does this mean to you?
Since this is a story from a Christian church, we need look no further than Jesus for guidance.
Who was welcome at his table?
What was he willing to risk?
A Course in Miracles teaches that we cannot be separated from anyone else and be connected to God (divine, sacred, universal energy–pick your word). In other words, our union with the divine is directly related to our union with each other. Even simpler, our union with the divine IS our union with each other.
Think about that. Anything, anything at all – judgment, fear, anger, hatred, dismissal – anything that separates us from anyone else separates us from what our spirit most deeply yearns for. The embrace of the sacred. Separation from one is separation from all. Without exception.
Yes, but.... Doesn’t matter.
But they.... Doesn’t matter.
I can’t accept.... Doesn’t matter.
It’s just so.... Doesn’t matter.
Tara Brach wrote, “The world is divided into people who think they are right....”
Get it? Takes a second. So how do we “undivide” the world? By undividing our own hearts.
Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” The value of this promise is not dependent on who said it, nor on how it has or has not been modeled in the political arena. The value is in each one of us resolving to manifest what we want to experience on this earth: inclusion, friendship, honor, compassion, respect, love, kindness, integrity, generosity, peace, courage, joy.
Jesus told us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who hate us. Like the sun that rises on the evil and the good, and the rain that falls on the just and the unjust, we are called to shine our light in the darkness without reservation.
It’s easy to love those who love us back, those who are, in the words of the pastor, already here. But what are we willing to risk to gain our heart’s true desire? To manifest our soul’s true destiny? Can we open our heart door to “them,” whoever “they” are to us? I’m willing to try.
So to that person who canceled his holiday party to avoid mingling with people he sees as morally beneath him, you are always welcome at my table. Along with people who voted for the other guy.
Blessed are the peacemakers. ~Matthew 5:9