As I do every morning after a little coffee, I read from a handful of devotional-type books that help me start my day. One of my favorites is The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. His messages never fail to inspire me as he shares his joys, his struggle with and through cancer, and the challenges of just getting through life.
Today’s reading is titled “The Moment of Dawn,” and it begins with a quote from Rumi:
There’s a sun in every person – the you we call companion.
I was really impressed with how Nepo’s short essay expresses the process of healing. And how it illustrates what’s needed now in our seemingly divided United States. In a couple of paragraphs, he reminds us that we take our journeys alone … but together, as we share the same pains, setbacks, and confusions. In other words, we’re not (that) different from one another.
“Life” is dished out to all of us and none of us are spared from trials and hardship. And upon reflection, none of us are spared from the abundant majesty in nature and the abundant goodwill in most men and women.
It does seem like there’s a chasm between us. But there’s not. Once we get to the middle of the bridge and look deeply into another’s eyes, we can begin to heal. But in order to heal, we have to see what we have in common. We have to share our everyday burdens and our unexpected joys. We have to bring humor and willing hearts as we walk towards the bridge.
“You know the first moment of dawn has arrived when you look into the eyes of another human being and see yourself.”
— unknown rabbi
And we have to forgive each other. We have to forgive all the judgement – the mean words, corrosive actions, bad behavior, schoolyard bullying, name calling, finger pointing, taunting, jeering, F U’ing the “other.”
I’m guilty. We’re all guilty. Because we’re human. And we’re fallible. But let’s recognize our common fallibility and agree to do and be better. Let’s expect more of ourselves and of each other, rather than less. Social media, particularly, Twitter, is a world of vitriol and bitterness. Is there a way to decrease the hostility and eliminate the hideousness? Of course, there is!
If we can’t reconcile our common humanity and agree to sometimes disagree, we’ll destroy ourselves. We’ve been seeing this play out in politics. Just look at our “leaders” flailing and failing from attempting to govern from the far edges of the political spectrum. With the exception of taking sides in a game (for play!), are there ever winners?
Like it or not, life is often an endeavor that is about going down the middle, coming to the middle, eschewing the far ends, the extreme ends. Ends are about edges. And edges are sharp. Nepo reminds us that if we can acknowledge what’s between us and what’s common to us, we can lose the edges, soften them, so that they cut us less.
Graphic created by Saucy Copy with thanks to Pixabay via Pexels and Federico Respini @federicorespini via Unsplash