The noise is so loud, it’s all I can do to tune it out, for just a moment. For just long enough to remember. To remember that this isn’t about you or about me, it’s about us. It’s about family. It’s not about black or white. It’s not about male or female. It’s not about rich or poor. It’s not about nationality or religion. It’s about family, it’s about our humanity. And we are on the brink.
It’s so loud now that everyone can feel it in some way, even if they don’t recognize it. Long established ways of being are disintegrating, they are falling apart and falling away. Rules of privilege and power are shifting. All we really need to do is let them shift, let them fall away. But there are many who simply can’t let it happen. They are too afraid of what they don’t know.
That’s what all the noise really gets down to, fear of what we don’t know. And if we don’t know each other, we are told to be afraid. So the obvious solution is get to know each other. Reach out and shake a hand, introduce yourself, carry a sign that says Free Hugs. You never know what might happen.
But what’s happening now makes me feel sad inside. In one ear I hear from a beloved father that accusations of rape are a hoax. While in the other I hear from friends their stories of surviving very real assaults. In one ear I hear it’s her fault for not leaving him. While in the other I hear, I had no where to go and no means to start again. In one ear I hear he attacked me and tried to take my gun, then ran. While in the other I hear hands up don’t shoot.
The cacophony is deafening. That is the goal though isn’t it, of those who would resist the change? If we make it loud enough, confusing enough, scary enough they won’t see the simple answer that we are moving toward. Family. We are all one family. You don’t have to get along with everyone in your family to be a family. And really whether you believe in Biblical beginnings or primordial goo, either way the answer is the same. We all descended from the same beginnings. There it is. There is actually common ground even between creationists and evolutionists! Only very few in power wants us to find our common ground, our humanity.
Yet it is there, and it is the only thing that can save us. Getting to know each other. If you look around you will find that more people are already on that path than the news would have you believe. They are reaching out across borders, across aisles, across oceans, across pews, across streets, across railroad tracks and across protest lines. They are reaching out from their heart to yours, to mine. It’s the only answer. It’s the only way to reclaim our humanity.
I know it’s true because I had to reclaim my own. I found myself looking around at all the strife and pain and violence and thinking, “Who are these people? Who are these people who think this behavior is ok?” In those thoughts I lost touch with my own humanity. Those people, all of them, are me. Not only the victims, but the perpetrators. Not only the protestors, but the police officers. Not only. There is no more room for only.
I can’t only love you or you or you. I have to expand my heart enough to love all my family, as challenging as that can be. I don’t have to love your choices or your actions or your behaviors and if you go astray and hurt others, then I will peacefully prevent you from continuing on that path and still love you until you can find your way back home.
For each heart that turns away from the light dims the light for all. But each heart that reaches out, shining brightly increases the light for all. So when your light dims, we will shine upon your path. When your song fades, we will sing your unique melody. When you forget who you are, we will call you by name. When you have been hurt, we will remind you of your wholeness until you feel it again. When you grieve, we will share your grief and your memories of your beloved. When you rejoice, we will celebrate with you. When you are lost, we will light your way home. When you are hungry, we will feed you. When you are cold, we will warm you. When you need shelter, we will invite you in. When you are afraid, we will hold you. When you succeed, we will cheer for you. When you learn, we will welcome your wisdom. When you hurt another, we will forgive you. When you hate, we will help you see yourself in the other. When you stumble, we will offer you a hand. When you laugh, we will laugh with you. When you weep, we will offer our shoulder. When you can’t remember your family, we will remind you with each one of our smiles. When you move on from this life, we will grieve and celebrate you because we knew you as family.