In Lent – the Christian community is observing Lent at the moment – one of the tasks of the faithful is to realign themselves with G-d, with the sacred within, with the sacred in the earth, and the sacred in creatures of other species. One of the essential tasks is to realign our eyes to see with G-d’s eyes so that we recognize the divine in places and people far beyond our familiar expectations and experiences. One of the essential tasks is to realign our ears to listen with G-d’s compassionate wisdom so that we hear where the universe is groaning in pain or sorrow, or panting with the hard labor of bringing something new to birth.
One of the essential tasks is to be midwives, actively aiding and welcoming fresh expressions of life (in ourselves, in others, in the environment, in the evolving structures of our many and various cultures) as the divine seeks always new and abundant ways of revealing holiness in the universe. And part of the fruitful accomplishment of that task is the expansion of our hearts and minds and spirits to embrace and welcome that which is (in fact) new, that which is perhaps strange, that which is certainly unfamiliar, that which is “not us.”
Midwifing the “not us” involves opening our arms, our hearts, our minds, our hopes to diversity way outside our comfort zones. Realigning ourselves with the sacred involves accepting that holiness is far bigger than the boundaries of a single body, or a single sect, or a single religious identity. Perhaps, to accept — even to cultivate — diversity in an intentional way, we might, like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, need to practice believing one or more impossible things before breakfast every day. If you are like me, one of those impossible things can be the shocking idea that someone else might be perceiving a truth with which I don’t happen to agree.
And if I am willing to risk believing that, maybe I could risk believing that there might be truth in what we each believe. Maybe both ideas are valid. Maybe one idea is dependent on the other. . .or both are intricately interwoven with a third. Maybe even the shadows are important. After all, as someone wiser than I once said, “Without the dark, we cannot see the stars.” Maybe G-d is unfolding in the diversity. Not in my thought or perspective; not in yours, but in the space we allow and nurture with respectful care between us where wild new possibilities dance together and fall in love.
This week, could we consider the challenging question: What blessing is waiting to be born between my heart and the heart of the person I find it most difficult to love at the moment?
Could we consider how we hold ambiguity with joy and wonder, rather than rushing to make choices that are only partial?
Could we wonder how we learn to welcome with giddy delight uncomfortable and unfamiliar thoughts and ideas and dreams that bubble up in our own hearts, nudging us to try strange things, or love people who may not love us back?
Could we try to get our minds around the question, How do we cherish the diversity of every created being we meet?[And before we say we can’t, remember that we are practicing believing impossible things!]
What if the impossible is totally possible? What then? Could we pray that we will never be content to stop at what appears predictably possible?
© 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos