I had a dream, under a cloud be-speckled blue sky
that we all joined hands with our nearby neighbors, to the right and to the left, whose opinions, possibly, probably, almost certainly, differ from our own. Me with thee and thee with thou until we reached the end of the lane, the boundaries of the neighborhood, the extent of the town, the limits of the principality, across the borders of countries, over the oceans, lakes and rivers until we encircled the world. We formed a human chain spanning races, nations, cultures, crossing opinion, without distinction ... gradually, incrementally, hardly noticeably; bridging every gap, grip by grip, person by person. No one concerned about contaminating viruses sticky fingers or dirt under the fingernails. So grateful were we for the touch of another human, we gave no thought to where the chain would lead, how or where it would link up with the other side on the other side because there would be no other side. Just the one continuous connection. Incremental effort, tugging us in each others' direction, extended arms encircling Mother Earth. She, who has the final word; Her Pull is the gravitational hug that grounds me, as the strength of connection tugs me toward you on my right and you on my left -- and you toward your neighbor, whose hands you hold for the sake of all life.
- Toss or save
- Full or empty
- In-fashion or out
- New or old
- Useful or useless
How we are people of the dichotomy. One or the other, thanks. Don’t both me with the muddle in the middle. Just get rid of it! My goodness, the safe shredding industry has taken root over night, to help us feel better about our waste.
But what about want? And what about age and injury and illness? What do we do with those? They’re not quite used up but so inconvenient.
Re-purpose. Can we talk about this? It was good for this; now it’s good for that. The common denominator: good. The operative word: for. Now that takes some creativity. Good is what we are. Good for is what we will be, what we’re becoming. There’s a reason there’s no such word as gooder. Because we were created with a purpose, completely supplied with the raw materials.
A popular expression in my line of work is: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” There’s that dichotomy again: can or can’t. The young are very sure they can, until they discover they can’t and need help. The old cannot until asked for their wisdom, and they supply the young so they can again. From can — to can’t — to can again. Can it be that simple? — dashes and arrows connecting our dichotomy? One shows the other how to be. We’re not used up, we’re used for.
It’s not a vicious cycle that spins and dizzies, but a plentiful path that supplies as we go along. Complete at any point on the perimeter because quantity, volume, and age are nonsensical. Measure has no meaning. We are completed by the connection, continuously.
Imagine walking into a room full of people, totally unannounced, and having one remark, “Ah, it’s amazing what prayer can do!” And they meant you. They didn’t know you were coming. Had no idea to expect you. They weren’t looking for someone to save or rescue them; they were just fine before you came. Yet, when you walked in, you were the answer to prayer. God had sent you, and you didn’t even know it.
Does God have that power? Does He manipulate our days and our ways so that, when a call goes up or when a whisper bears your name, He plants the notion in you to do just that? I mean, does God mess with my mind without my permission?
That doesn’t sound like God to me. He seems more like the type that would come have a chat. You know, put an arm around my shoulder and say, “So, I have some things I need doing and I’d really like you to consider the job.” And then I would hem and haw and say, “Whoa, those are really big things” or “Um, I really don’t have those skills”… “Or are you out of your mind? I can’t do that!” and I would be looking at my Lord, expecting Him to recant or come to His senses. But He’d just smile and wait for me to come to mine.
Could this chat have been going on inside me before this prayer gathering? Could the suggestion have been made and the reasoning taken place that I needed to go gather a few more copies of the Lenten devotional books at the church? Why not do it at 1:00 when I knew this group usually gathered? Totally logical and very efficient. I could just poke my head in and say hello. No big deal. Until I saw the empty seat in the circle, the candle at the center and the smile that welcomed me. Then, what I thought was my idea became God’s idea. We synced up right there on the spot.
How does that happen? That “syncing” – such a fun word to describe the aligning of two things in a way that we can’t see and really can’t explain.
Could it all have been rehearsed and set perfectly in place by a force we don’t understand except maybe in our imagining? We’re in sync because we are the answer to the prayer of the other and they, the answer to ours. And not just one to one. But all of our stories meant to connect and build, one on the other. Just imagine the fabrication of that story. Pretty hard to believe, but maybe, if there was a frequency to which we are all being synced.
That would mean that when, totally by coincidence, someone seeks me out to assist their loved one who needs healing and strengthening and confidence, it’s not coincidence at all. I have been placed there.
What an incredible privilege. What a responsibility! To prepare myself – to take hold of the gifts I have and the skills and knowledge available – for that singular meeting. To be the answer to their prayer, and in a way I can only imagine, they to mine. On purpose.