We are all in this together
Last June, when we chose Interdependence as our theme for the month of January 2021, we had a few hints of the challenges that might lie ahead, but there was no way to know all that the unfolding of the year would bring. There has been so much disruption, so much pain, and at the same time, so much important and necessary progress on many fronts.
I found myself moved to tears by the Inauguration ceremonies on January 20, a ceremony with so many elements that heralded a new beginning, with so many specific calls for healing as our nation works to find its way, not back into old patterns of false peace, but into a new unity of purpose and commitment, characterized by racial and economic justice, by laws and programs that help to bring about a new reality for us all.
We are interdependent, we depend on each other. We are all in this together. If we are wise in our interdependence, we know that our lives cannot be whole when our neighbor lives in oppression; we know that our every action creates consequences that affect us all. With so many differences among us, so many historic inequities that have shaped our society, such deep divisions of perspective and belief, we are called to do the unimaginable, to be part of bringing about what President Biden called “…the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity.”
As we acknowledge our interdependence, finding unity in diversity begins, as it must, with love. Not a passive sweetheart love, but a fierce and focused love that attends carefully to understand our own reality; that listens deeply to understand the reality of each other; and that holds steadfastly to what we know to be most true, even as we accept that another person may experience a different reality.
Let us begin by listening. Listening within to hear the reality of our own lives; listening to the stories of those with whom we disagree; listening to harsh truths from those whose lives have been so deeply wounded by society; listening to those caught in a distorted view of the world, reinforced by their own fear and vulnerability. In listening we can learn more about ourselves and each other. There is a wise teaching that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, so let us listen more than we speak, let us take in more than we express, as we search for deeper understanding of all the ways we are in the world together. And so we go in peace and love, blessing this interdependent world.