I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are. We seem to be destined to not view other people as equals. Most religions accept what is said in Genesis, that God created man in His image; that’s all men; not just those who are like us. It appears that a permanent state of class warfare of the rich persecuting and punishing the poor has been with us throughout history, throughout the entire world as we know it; but it is only called class warfare when the poor try to rise against the rich. Being a former history teacher, I accept that history is written by the victors; but, over the last fifty-plus years, more literature has appeared that was written by the repressed classes.
This is rich literature, written by the people of these different cultures. I am thinking of authors such as Louise Erdrich, writing of the Native American culture, and Zora Neale Hurston, writing of the African American culture. When reading this literature, I am not only placed in the stories as an interested observer, I am also engulfed by the beauty and depth of cultures that these stories represent. To truly comprehend this, I decided that I must share this inner light I received with my literature students when I taught in college. Comprehension begs actions, which in turn brings contemplation and understanding.
I have never had the opportunity to live amongst these different cultures in America, but by reading of them I have learned to appreciate the awesome wonder of all life. Our spirituality forms our inner lives and is then lived outwardly in the world, which is to live a life of love and justice for others. True contemplation must become action; so, I take it into my own spiritual being, being grateful that I can share it, taste it, and sense it. This is one way we can learn to Love and appreciate all people. When we Love all people, we appreciate and respect all people. Isn’t this what God wants?
When we Love, we leave our self-centered hearts behind. We share our personal gifts; working together, our sense of community grows, and our selfishness dies, a difficult death, but a worthwhile one. I believe that when we stop living for just ourselves, a culture of brotherhood and sisterhood replaces jealousy and contempt. We are made as individuals, and in that light, we are different; but this differentness does not mean we are not alike in many ways, owning the same dreams, sharing the same pains. By creating these loving communities, we all gain; we all create the heaven within us that Jesus so often spoke.