Thursday, September 29, 2011

Opening the Heart...Becoming One...

Even as some sisters & brothers in Alabama are rejoicing over the passage of the "most comprehensive immigration law" in these United states, I have been immersed in a thought-provoking book entitled Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer, a Quaker educator, writer, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal.
Even as my heart is breaking open over the zenophobia which seems to be sweeping over parts of our nation, I find myself taking heart from what Palmer calls Five Habits of the Heart which he feels we American citizens need in response to twenty-first-century conditions...five interlocking habits which he feels will be crucial to sustaining our democracy.
  • We must understand that we are all in this together. This means embracing the simple fact that we are dependent on and accountable to one another.
  • We must develop an appreciation of the value of "otherness", welcoming and including the "other" with an awareness that the stranger has much to teach us.
  • We must cultivate the abiity to hold tension in life-giving ways, holding the contradictions of our collective lives without rushing to easy answers.
  • We must generate a sense of personal voice and agency, to have confidence in our own voices and in our power to make a difference.
  • We must strengthen our capacity to create community, without which nothing of real significance can happen.
Caring deeply about the future of our democracy, about the path we seem to be following as a people, about the ways in which we treat one another, about the ever-increasingly vitriol which has been rising to the surface of public debate, by the ways in which debate is shut down by accusations of anti-Americanism, by the rise of fringe groups who seem determined to shut doors rather than open them to welcome the ever-increasing diversity of life, I share these throughts from my book, Life Lines, written several years ago but as true for me now as they were when I first put pen to paper. May your heart be opened this day...may welcome and hospitality be the watchwords which guide your speech and your actions.

my message to the world…
Let go of fear!
Why should we fear
each other? Inside,
beneath the skin, we are
all the same…
yet we are individually
unique. It is a mystery,
a glorious mystery! So why
not spend our time & effort
in contemplating & unraveling
the wondrous mystery of
our simultaneous oneness &
uniqueness rather than
fighting over it? Why not
celebrate the wonder of
similarity & diversity as
two sides of the human coin?

If we can accept the gift
of our own  uniqueness,
then we can honor the
uniqueness of every other
being- and his gifts, her
glory will not threaten
us but will create a
more beautiful, colorful
world…a world where
love & acceptance prevail…
a world transformed from
fear to love.
                Let it be so.

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