We are together in watching from a distance
the madness in the Middle East.
I cannot do anything to stop it.
Whatever words I might write
will likely be unheard and have no effect.
Still, if the words are not spoken, how
can they ever one day come alive?
So, I offer these words, they are all I have.
They are inspired by my teacher.
My teacher began all his talks by saying
“I welcome you all with love and respect.”
To welcome another person with love and respect
is to recognize and acknowledge them
in a sincere and life affirming way.
But love and respect are not just fancy ideas;
for them to have force and effect
they cannot be a bouquet of empty words
which we toss to one another on the run.
Love and respect cannot merely be religious rhetoric
drowned in the din of bullets and bombs.
Respect means to care for and to honor
each other with our thoughts, words and actions.
This is respect
and respect is love
which is the presence of god
and the presence of god exists within all people and things.
let us welcome each other with love and respect.
He also said,
“See god in each other.”
With so many gods living in people’s heads
we might wonder what this means.
Whose god? Which god?
I will say this: the god we need to see in each other
is our own self, our parents, our children, our lovers,
our spouses, our best friends, the ones we love.
That would be god enough.
If we see those we already cherish
in others, that god will be more than sufficient.
This might seem simple enough, when we’re looking
at people who look at us in the same way
we look at them.
It’s hard, though, when people act crazily,
beheading children and stoning women to death.
Where is the god in those crazies?
It’s there, though they don’t know it.
That’s why they’re crazy.
If we—all of us—could truly see god in each other
we would welcome each other with love and respect
which my teacher said was the highest religion.
If we all practiced the highest religion
which is to see god in each other
and to welcome each other with love and respect
there would be peace throughout the world.
Instead, many religious people with no love
or respect in their hearts, are tearing the world apart.
At least, we can mind our own hearts.
At the very least, we can meet each other with love and respect.
It may not be an immediate solution for the horrors of today or tomorrow,
but one day it will, one day it will triumph.
It has to. Nothing else will work.
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Editor: Travis May
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