When You See The Holiness In The Other
I was at the grocery store yesterday when I witnessed a moment of road rage in the parking lot.
It all started when a woman driving an SUV was trying to navigate the busy parking lot to find a space. She didn't notice another car backing out of a parking space in her path, and the driver of that vehicle had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting her.
He rolled down his window, shouted at her for a few seconds (I couldn't hear what he said), and then he peeled out with a screech of tires and raced down the parking row, and then gunned his engine as he made his way to the exit.
As I put my groceries in my car, I saw the woman walking toward the store entrance with her shoulders bent and look on her face that spoke of the burden she was carrying--the burden of the hurtful words and actions of the Road Rage guy.
At that moment, I saw myself in both of those people.
There are times in my life when I have succumbed to the kind of anger that can erupt like a geyser when I feel afraid or threatened. And there are also times in my life when I've found myself staggering under the weight of the anger of others.
It was like God gave me the gift of true sight, and I was able to see all of us as broken, small, and afraid... but loved, cherished and holy all at once. And I found myself wishing peace for both of those people, for myself and even to the whole world.
Evelyn Underhill once wrote:
We have got to begin not by an arrogant other-worldliness, but by a humble recognition that human things can be holy, very full of God, and that high-minded speculations about his nature need not be holy at all; that all life is engulfed in him and he can reach out to us anywhere at any level.And during this season of expectation, we lean forward with anticipation as God reaches us by appearing as one of us. God comes to us as a child--vulnerable, dependent, frail, tender... And God sanctifies our frailty with God's shocking entry into the world through Jesus.
We don't have to be afraid. We don't have to let our fears turn to anger. We don't have to lash out at one another. Because the other is holy. The other is us. And we are all God's cherished and holy ones.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.