Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.
These days, I find a special relevance in this 13th century Persian poet’s sentiment. Do you see it?
Either one works for me.
It seems that today we need more of this sentiment. What if we did not need to be right all the time? What if we could let our guards down and listen to build relationships with those on the “other side of the aisle?” instead of immediately facing off with the neighbor with opposing points of view, or the brother-in-law who voted for the other team in a recent election.
What if we asked to hear their perspective? With no need to immediately give ours.
What if we are wrong from time to time? Or what if we are both kind of right, even a little bit right? And the answer is somewhere in the middle. Somewhere in between, or beyond, what we believe to be true or good and right; and what they believe to be true and good and right.
Is that possible?
Concerns and issues of today are plentiful, and we choose sides. From climate change to racial justice, to abortion, to naming gender identities, to who we love, to gun laws … it’s enough to make one’s head spin and heart break.
We each have our views, our reasons, our understandings of how things are “supposed to be.” And we are inclined to dig in, hold tight to our views and understandings at the risk of being influenced by someone we disagree with. Hold tight.
But where has that gotten us? Look around, it isn’t pretty.
Maybe, we might heed Rumi’s invitation to meet in that “beyond” field or garden. We might sit down or lie back with our faces to the sky and listen to each other. I imagine there are many things we can agree on, like the value of the lives of those we love.
And if we sat down together or lay down, side by side, looking up, taking in the ever-expanding night sky together in awe of unimaginable galaxies, would we feel small and vulnerable together against that night sky? Would we see each other as valuable enough to preserve each other’s lives?
I like the metaphor of garden – well watered and properly pruned, with lupine on one side, and daffodils in another corner; with shoots of young onions coming up in the veggie patch.
A garden with new fruit almost ripe for picking, flowers for sniffing, and pollinators to keep the cycle turning. This place of abundance and beauty – shall we meet there?
You bring your stories and views of the world, and I’ll bring mine. And I pray that our great-grandchildren will someday benefit from our altered views beyond our current wrongs and rights.
God help us all.
The Rev. Holly S. Brauner is pastor of First Congregational Church of Georgetown.
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