Public life in this country continues to be increasingly difficult. As a nation of people and many communities, we are divided deeply. Binary thinking in the worst way has taken us over. This side or that side. Facts or fake. Pro this way or pro that way. I can be drawn into the division like anyone else, and the feelings of anger and rage, sadness and despair can fill me up.
I want to make sense of the divisions. I want to understand how so many of my fellow citizens can take positions that so clearly hurt others. As I write this, the mass shootings are proliferating at an unthinkable speed. The rhetoric against LGBTQ communities of people makes them more vulnerable targets by the day. I want to understand how people can take political positions that create waves of suffering, pain and death. I take these questions to my meditation and prayer often.
The message that comes back to me repeatedly is embodied in our seventh principle. Everything in existence is energy. All energy is connected in an interdependent web of existence. Am I connected to people who engage in harmful ways? Are they even aware that they are causing harm? If I condemn them, am I not falling into the same trap?
There’s a hard kind of wonder in these questions. If I had the power to enact my compulsions at times, and could have all those who are causing so much harm gathered up and destroyed, I’d be the new harming force in the world, harm following on harm. Is it possible to find a vision large enough to see all beings in the web? To become part of a reconciling force?
We must oppose harmful thinking, actions, legislation and injustice when we see it. But, can I also embrace another human being who is not aware, yet, of the harm they are creating? That’s the hard wonder I feel pressed toward. I don’t know, yet, how to do that.
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”