Me: What’s the hardest spiritual thing I’m ever going to have to do?
Old Woman: To see every person as a gift.
Me: What kind of gift?
Old Woman: The best kind. Based on the way you receive them.
Me: I don’t get it.
Old Woman: I know. But you will. If you receive others as worthy, lovable, spiritual creations–perfect just the way they are–you get to see the highest possible version of who you are. You get to be that. Experience that. And you become a gift to the world.
Me: Sounds hard.
Old Woman: The longer you think that, the harder it gets.
The funny thing is, she was right.
–by Richard Wagamese, from a collection of his writings, “Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations (2017).
As we’ve been talking about community, living in community and the curvy path community creates for us, I am realizing more and more how intertwined our spiritual heart is with our heart towards others. Of course it is, my brain says, for we were all made, all created, all loved and our wholeness depends on all of our wholeness. This makes sense. And yet living it out requires everything that the life with God requires – TRUST that we don’t have to make it work out, but we just have to do what we are invited to; TURNING from a life focused on one to a life oriented towards the whole, God and the love of his long life which is all of us, all of this of course; RECEIVING the gift of grace that being with others gives us; HUMILITY, we do not make any of this life happen, we receive by turning and trusting and seeing so much more than we could imagine.
And all this in the grocery line, at the exhausting family bbq, at the town halls. All of this at the PTA meetings, at church, in the Facebook feeds. All of this happens (or doesn’t happen) in the way we orient ourselves towards our neighbours. And knowing my own heart and my own ways of dismissing others, this is the biggest opportunity for growth, for change, for transformation into something that starts to hint at the person of Jesus.