One World Family
I have lived in the mid-west, the east, the southeast, and now the northwest. I did a tour in the Philippines for a year as well. Living in all these places has taught me that they each have their own unique flavor, but the people are the same. Everyone wants to talk about their uniqueness. “You know you live in Chicago when the weather drops 20 degrees in a single hour…” Except the weather does that everywhere. “You know that you are in the south when every conversation starts with figuring out how you are related…” Except I run into that more of that in Boise than I ever did in Georgia and Florida. I live in a state now that is so white you couldn’t imagine how difficult it is to find racial diversity… and yet I have met more refugees here than any other place I have lived, and I was standing on the sidelines before my son’s soccer game the other day talking to four other dads and I was the only person for whom English was a first language… in Boise, Idaho!
What’s my point?
On the morning after Great Britain has voted to leave the European Union I reflect on what unites and divides us. And how our pride that we are different (and better) is a religion of devastating consequences. It fueled the Hellenizing impulses of Alexander, the not-yet-over age of Imperialism, and more than one World War. It led to a “third-world” treated as the battle ground of competing imperial ideologies.
I consider that it is inevitable that we will try to unite and divide as nations and institutions. We are not a people constantly getting better. We are individually and corporately broken and seeking wholeness. But I believe in my heart in the interconnectedness of the people that populate this globe. We are one body! I believe in my heart that we are only whole when we form a chorus of diverse but same hearts. I believe that the world will be a far less gruesome place when we cease to put ourselves ahead of others… when our drive for differentness and acknowledged superior view on life ceases to become that cancer that puts us at war within our own body.
This is what I mean when I say, in hope, that love wins.
Today I sent my three older kids off on a hike with their YMCA camp. They each had a backpack, a lunch, and two water bottles (there is NO shade in this part of Idaho). At least they almost all had two water bottles. Meredith, the youngest of the three, only carried one so she didn’t get too weighed down, her backpack is almost her size after all. We told the other ones to share their water with her, we all help each other out.
Those words just echoed again in my mind. What seems so easy (well, not always actually, but more often than not) in my family becomes some hard as the “group” gets bigger. But the ethic is still the same. We are still many who belong to one human family. And we share with one another, we work together, we makes sure no-one gets left behind… even if that “costs” us.
So in the natural and inevitable squabbles that occur between siblings, and sibling nations, denominations, institutions, etc… my prayer today is that we may find ways to remember we are each a gift of diversity to each other – but not so unique and special in our selves. In fact it has always been, through spiritual story and evolutionary triumph, that we have succeed in life when we have figured out how to carry one another through the day. We all need to take turns carrying the water for each other. Because alone? Life is far more bleak.
Today I double down on love. I hope you will too. Because together? We are better.