"Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu." ("A person is a person because of other people.") African Proverb
Imagine if you would, the following scenario in the above photo and those below: one, two or three people, each on different sides, breaking the chain of unity and connection we witness in the "human towers." Just imagine the chaos and mayhem that would result.
Yet, in the United States and throughout the world, we are witnesses to the chain of unity being broken day by day, minute by minute, as people make choices to love only their own.
We also are witnesses on a smaller scale to the mayhem every Thanksgiving in the United States. We see the ritual some people go through to purchase certain select items, supposedly only affordable on Black Friday, and we see how far some would go to get those items for loved ones. (Woman kills three for last X-Box One.)
Many choose to forgo Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends to stand in line on Thanksgiving *night at the doors of department stores to get bargain gifts for their loved ones. At some stores, there's a stampede when the doors open and people get hurt. As we read the story above about the woman killing three others for the store's last X-Box One, we also read that she allegedly used the excuse that she was "taking care" of her family's needs when she was apprehended by police.
Were we only to focus on the outrageous nature of the story, we would be missing the point of this post. The real story is what people are really saying when they shove, push others and kill others to get their own way: "People outside of me... or my loved ones... don't really matter."
A greater irony here, too, is that all the occasions where this type of mayhem happens are meant to be joyous ones!
Let's hit the Pause button now.
Think about the expectation you may have about the appreciation of your loved one receiving the ideal gift. Think about how diminished your joy would be, were you to reflect on how ugly the shopping experience became for you to obtain that gift.
Would you feel satisfied, knowing that you trampled, or stepped over, another person to purchase it? Think, too: if it's the last one-of-a-kind left, how unique is that gift?
"Love Your Neighbor As Yourself" is the second of the 10 Great Commandments. This is not a feel-good urging; it is meant for our very survival as a species.
Like all the other 10 commandments, these utterances are meant to help us live our lives in ways that contribute to the overall good...that ultimately benefit us as individuals and as a species.
The truth of the 10 commandments, recorded so many centuries ago, apply in an even more critical way today:
Our societies...our communities...are in dire need of love. More specifically, our societies...our communities...are in critical need of people loving people, neighbor loving neighbor, more than at any other time before.
We are witnesses every day to the estrangement happening among different people in communities, based on issues such as race, religion, education, finances and other tangibles and intangibles.
This type of separation is causing an overall deterioration in the quality of life we all enjoy, and consider important, in our day-to-day.
As humans, we interact daily, sometimes minute by minute, needing the services and love of others.
Without others doing what they do, we cannot be who we are and do what we do.
Bridges, roads, our very infrastructure of life would fall apart if we don't each contribute our part, play our role for the whole.
Yet, people blithely go about their business, disrespecting the needs of others, and only caring about themselves and what is of importance to their or their families' needs.
But were they to stop and look around their world, they... we... would all see that nothing in life is separate. Our lives are so intertwined and integrated, we don't know where one begins and another ends.
|Photo Credit: Sociedad Argentina de Horitcultura|
Any thoughts to the contrary are just illusions. There is no separation among us...everything is a seamless whole!
Each one of us plays an important part in this great puzzle in life. Each is a critical part.
We can see this as a microcosm in our families. We can clearly see the role each person plays.
We see how each member contributes with the loving way they prepare a meal or a huge Thanksgiving, or other holiday, dinner. We see the extra special touch and care they put into everything they do to make us feel special. We know the difference each of our family members' special ways make to our days.
It's time now for us to transfer that thoughtfulness and consciousness to the larger world.
When we step out of our front door, we need to be conscious that everyone else we encounter has stepped out of their homes...their cocoons ...and are now moving from a microcosm into the macrocosm of life.
Let's get conscious of this!
No matter how difficult it is to be nice to other people...to strangers...we must learn to do so.
People can be annoying with their strange ways....with their attitudes and selfish ways of seeing the world.
We all are guilty of doing this.
But the times we're now in are requiring us to step out of our zones...our Twilight Zones...into the reality of understanding that life requires us to "love one another."
We must "love our neighbors as ourselves."
We must learn how to fit together...in better ways ...and in love.
It doesn't mean that we go around hugging people...and even speaking to strangers. But what it does mean...is that when we step out...when we interact with people on the phone and in any of the myriad ways we do in our daily lives...we keep "love" as the mantra at the back of our minds.
No matter how hard it is in the beginning to see others from a perspective of "love," once we make it a habit, it becomes easier.
Are we ready to LOVE...really LOVE...each other in this new month of February, the month designated to love?
Then step out of your comfort zone ...step out of your family cocoon...step out of your circle of "love" ...and begin to expand that feeling...into the world.
It's time to begin writing a new book on "love."
Once you do: Watch...Wait ...and See...
Giving love; you receive love.
An entirely new world will open up to you and for you..
Can your heart grow big enough to capture more people in the world? Do you have a big enough heart to capture it all?
I wish you the ability to both give and receive "love" this Valentine's Day from a multitude of sources.
*NOTE: Since 2013, many department stores increasingly have started opening on Thanksgiving Day, thus eliminating the long lines.