Let’s Get Real
It’s been a week y’all. Hell, it’s been months hasn’t it?
It’s been a roller coaster ride for me, and I’m betting it’s been just as unpleasant for you. I’m betting a lot of us are really, really tired.
We’ve been jerked back and forth as the House and Senate played ball with the medical care and futures of millions of us. And then many proud men and women in our armed forces were told that the fact that they were transgender was enough to see them kicked out and rejected. Now we’re waiting and holding our breath to see if two crazy men will lob nuclear weapons at one another, with all of us caught in the middle.
But that’s not all, oh no! On Saturday, when most of us were just hoping to relax, maybe catch up on some much needed Netflix (or sleep), the KKK and the nazis descended on Charlottesville. The nazis. They’re not extras in some new Indiana Jones movie, they’re serious. They’ve got assault riffles, and nazi chants, and apparently they’ve been studying terrorists in Europe who drive vehicles into peaceful crowds. Because that happened. People died this weekend.
It’s exhausting. And it’s disheartening.
And it just doesn’t seem to stop. In a group I am part of a young woman who fled for her life from Syria recounted how, out shopping, she stumbled across a perfume that her friends used to wear back home in Syria. She hasn’t been able to stop crying wondering if any of them are still alive. Weeks like this make I start to understand why so many spiritual leaders go off by themselves so often. Buddha and Jesus both did it, multiple times, just to name the two I’m closest to.
Hope: In Us All
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Jesus, from Matthew’s account.)
For a very long time stories like that one above (from all sorts of traditions) have been told about human beings finding some sort of treasure outside themselves. For Jews and Christians it’s the Kingdom of God (however that looks), for Buddhists it’s enlightenment or freedom from reincarnation, for Taoists it’s oneness with all. The story varies, the goal varies, but we’re always being told there’s something out there that’s worth our all. And I think that’s true. It shows up too commonly in human experience for it to be a fluke.
But this week, this week all those stories are about something else.
This week Holiness herself takes the hands of a transgender soldier and says quietly: a woman took and mixed yeast with flour until all of it was leavened.
God/Goddess/The One wraps arms around a black man injured by nazis, and says to those listening: a woman stumbled upon a treasure in a field, and with joy she ran, sold everything she had and bought that field.
This is what heaven looks like.
Wise Ones and Love
Beloveds Jesus and the Buddha are sitting under a tree, cradling weary, terrified refugee children in their laps. They sigh and shake their heads and say it again like a mantra: very, very slowly. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant who deals in pearls all day long, one day she finds one of such beauty that she sells everything to buy it.
Ancient of Days leans into a the ear of a broken heart and whispers: you are my treasure.
She hugs the refugee and says in her ear “you are the Universe’s pearl.”
He looks into the eyes of the transgender youth and says “you are the yeast I am mixing into the world.”
“This is what heaven looks like.”
Holiness has been seeking you out your whole life wanting to tell you how loved you are, how beautiful you are, how absolutely worthy you are. Wisdom has been trying like mad to kneed your own particular yeast into the world like glitter that gets into everything and never goes away.
Every person in this world, regardless of gender, or race, or religion, or income, or sexual orientation, or sexual identity, or weight, or height, or health is Love’s beloved. Every. Single. One.
Every one of us is God’s treasure just as we are. And She asks really only one thing, that we treat one another that way. That we treat one another as the precious jewels that we are. In the whole of the universe, which is infinite and getting bigger, All That Is found a treasure and ran, and purchased it to keep it safe forever. You, and you, and you and the person you cannot possibly imagine anyone loves.
There is of course another side to all this. There are those who cannot see love, those who harm and hate. Those who bring fear, who desperately try to root out the yeast that Holiness is mixing into the world. And so Love’s treasures go on suffering. In poverty, in fear, in persecution. Fathers and mothers, long time members of our communities are deported for the crime of lacking paperwork. LGBTQ youth commit suicide at higher rates than any other group. Those with mental illness hide their disease out of fear and shame. Those with abilities different than the norm are excluded. Those with skin that is dark are arrested, incarcerated, and expelled from school at higher rates than anyone else. And on it goes.
A wise friend reminded me of a quote from an ancient Christian writer and theologian (St. Augustine) this week “the sorrows of others must move our love.” Maybe you weren’t afraid this week or last week, or last month, maybe you weren’t wounded. Maybe we haven’t followed the news because none of it really effects us. Well, your sisters and brothers are being hurt, their sorrow cries out to Love and to us. And we must be moved.
God(dess) is calling, holding hurting treasure in Her/His/Their own hands. Wonder calls our love to be moved to action by the sorrows of others, for they too are Beloved.
If you are hurting this week, for any reason. Know that you are not a burden. You are not a mistake. You are a treasure, and you are loved beyond measure.
If you are not hurting this week, put on your work gloves, tighten up your belt, and get to work building something better, something worthy of all of us.
Your turn beautiful ones, what can you do this week, what one thing can you do to shine the light of Love on the world and push back the darkness? Share it here, so we can all see a little more light.