Something We Can All Agree On
I am having a hard time tonight feeling generous toward some of the folks on my social media feeds. Yesterday I was feeling a lot more charitable, but not so much right now.
It's probably because I'm bone-weary after a very long day.
And it's also because I can't get my head around why after all that has happened over the past week and a half that they would still be so tone-deaf.
I'm also very aware that they probably have similar things to say about me.
What if---and this is a stretch because we all seem to be retreating farther and farther into our corners---there was a way we could all find something to agree on... something that would be undisputable, above reproach, free from critique?
I know... I know... You're going to say something like:
"What are you talking about, Preacher, we can't seem to find agreement about the best way to combat a virus that could potentially kill us, people we love, and hundreds of thousands of other folks...You do have a good point, that's true. But I think I do have something we can all agree on, someplace where we can find common ground. Let me explain.
And if that's not enough Preacher, we can't seem to agree on what equity and justice for everyone might look like... so respectfully... you might be nuts."
Almost every single person on the face of the earth wants the same thing for themselves and their families--with very few exceptions.
Want to know what it is is? Peace.
Not the absence of conflict, mind you. Although that would be a good start in some parts of the world, and in many parts of our own country.
No, I'm talking about the kind of peace that washes over you, fills you with a sense of belonging, purpose, fulfillment, serenity, and a connection to something greater than yourself.
For the record, I call the "something greater" God, but that's where I'm coming from. Some people might not be able to do that, but they still long for that connection.
So what keeps us from calling a timeout to everything and just focusing on that?
It's simple. We have this notion that attaining peace for ourselves and the ones we love is part of a zero-sum game where there's only so much peace to go around---like slices of pie. And if someone takes too much of it, then we can't possibly have any.
Let me clue you in on a little secret. There's always enough peace to go around because this kind of peace flows directly from God, who has an infinite supply of it to share with those who really want it.
Imagine if we began looking at each other like that. Imagine. What would change about the way we see people who feel like an enemy, or who are different from us, or who frighten us, or threaten us?
What if we saw them as desirous of the same thing that we are desirous of, only they are just as frail and worried as we are about it all running out.
And what if we were able to see them as fellow-travelers on the path toward peace... even if they stumble as they slowly make their way... even as we do the same.
The poet Rumi wrote this beautiful poem that describes that path to me. I'll share it in closing today:
The music of a desire as widespread as spring
begins to move like a great wagon.
Drive slowly.May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
Some of us walking alongside are lame.