At once I feel liberated when learning how simple something is. Oh, you can make laundry detergent by mixing three ingredients? Make it smell good by putting in some essential oil? You can make bread with simple ingredients? You can manifest peace in the world by connecting with one another?
In one of those moments of clarity, it all makes sense. Our greed, rage, mistrust — ultimately fear — all rest in the fact that we do not recognize each other. We do not see one another, truly. We have lost our connection with humanity, our connection as a collective whole. For some it gets lost immediately; there is no sense of family or home. For some it exists strongly to include their nation or even their religion but goes no further.
Our readings at church on Sunday included Jesus’ commandment to love one another. So simple. Our priest went on to say that this doesn’t mean we have to love-love others like we love our spouse/children/mother/father/friends. I wish I could find a reference, but I’ll take her at her word when she said that one of the best translations for what Jesus said when he said “love” was “to connect.” Connect with your self. Connect with your neighbor. Connect with the stranger on the street. Connect with your enemy. “It’s not all warm and fuzzy,” she said. We just have to connect with them.
I see this as not only connecting with them as fellow humans, but there is something electric in the connection that ties us to the Divine. For me to truly connect with you, I have to let that God-spark in me recognize the God-spark in you. No matter what choices you’ve made in this life, or me, either, I cannot change that we are of the same Holy stuff, and that connection carries us beyond any rational comprehension on my part.
I believe our connections are nurtured by the beauty of nature, by kindness, by good will. I cannot help but wonder if our connections are dimmed by the magnitude of currents surrounding us these days by technology. In some ways they tie us together (I’m getting to share with you on my blog), but in so many others, they alienate us from one another (how many hours do you spend alone at the t.v./computer?).
I took a mental health day and went hiking with friends and my youngest on Tuesday. On the soft, worn path, between a bluff and a boulder, below a spring-green canopy, I was fed, fueled for a moment in what is good and true. No words were spoken. Just a connection made.
Contrast that with last night’s Cinco de Mayo night out at a local dive. So many people coming together to “celebrate” by getting inebriated and singing karaoke. Were these people connecting? Or were they moreso trying to fill the void they feel by lack of genuine connection? Is it easier to commiserate in idle play/nonsense than to face our realities as they are?
Jesus didn’t say we had to approve of each other’s choices. We just have to connect to one another enough to see each other — all of us — for what we truly are — holy.