Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. My office is quiet. Time is passing. Various deadlines loom large: a concert in two days. Porchfest. This. That. But in the middle of all that, my clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It’s the only sound in my office until...
...a car. Down Commerce Street. I wonder where he’s going. Or she. Another car. And another. A rustle of papers from across the hall; Mitch is cleaning his office. It occurs to me that all the people I know are doing something at this very second. Where are they? What are they thinking of? Is it hot? Cold? Have they noticed the temperature? Maybe it’s comfortable. I don’t know.
What I know is my world. Right here. I know I’m neither hot nor cold. I know what I’m smelling and seeing. I know where I have to go, and I know where I have been. This morning I was at my house. I had a little talk with myself in the mirror. Nothing important. I might have made a few faces at myself. But I don’t know where you were. I don’t know what you were doing. All I know is that for both of us, the clock. Was. Ticking.
For a lot of people that’s ominous. Every second past is a second closer to our end. And I guess that’s true to one extent or another. The logical conclusion is that we should choose very carefully how we use our seconds, because each one is a non-refundable investment. You’ve probably read that article before. If you bought into it, you may already be regretting that you’ve decided to read this one. Good news. This isn’t that article again (though honestly I can’t promise you it’s any better use of your time).
What realities unite all of humanity? Birth. Death. Taxes. Time. Those are the easy ones. Are there others?
Faith. Belief in something. Maybe God. Maybe NOT God. Even people who claim belief in nothing nevertheless believe in something, if only believing in their own self-sufficiency. Love. Love of others? Love of self? Love of something? Love of an ideal, even if it is absent? There are more, of course. Animal desires, even if some are better at squelching them than others. And needs. Universal needs. Ever-present even if buried so deep and burning so dimly that they are imperceptible even to ourselves.
We have much in common. As much as we have in difference or even more. Science tells us that our DNA is 99.9% similar from person to person. But despite those similarities. Despite our commonality, we are most inclined to focus instead on those things that divide us. That makes sense, really. We want to be unique. We want to separate ourselves. Ironically we are unified by our need to be unique.
But in a garden full of fruit we can’t resist the apple. We go beyond exploring our diversity when we allow it to divide us, or when we use it to divide ourselves. The foot says, “I am not an eye.” We create a symbolic world in which order matters. And then we place ourselves in order, blind ourselves to those below us, and set about moving up at any cost.
Enter Christ, who taught us the importance of embracing unity in our diversity. Not that we are all identical, no. Rather it is precisely our fundamental unity that allows us to embrace our diversity. It is our reliance on others that allows us to become who we are. Our unifying trust in each other allows us to explore our diversity. We are one body in the one Lord.