We're all connected.

There’s a lot of division around us these days…it’s an election year so I guess that’s to be expected. But it's about more than just politics.

What is most striking to me with all the debates, with all the finger pointing, with all the hate and fear and talk of shutting down our borders is that we’ve forgotten to see the humanity in people. Finger pointing, fear mongering and exclusion create space for the humanity of people to be erased.

We should never seek to erase people. We should never forget each other.

I think in pictures most of the time. When I think of the world and humanity, I have always pictured all of us connected. It’s like there’s a thin string connecting each of us to one another.

All beautifully different, but still connected. We need to look past what makes us call someone “other” and see the humanity in one another. We need to recognize that we are not separate.

Richard Rohr says,

A saint sees things in their connectedness. They don't see everything as separate. It's all one. What you do to your neighbor, you do to yourself and how you love yourself is how you love your neighbor. How you love God is how you love yourself and how you love yourself is how you love God. It's all one. How you do anything is how you do everything.

It's like we've forgotten that we're supposed to love one another. For too long we’ve dehumanized people. For too long we’ve put some lives over other’s lives. For too long we’ve promoted a message that some people, whether it’s because of where they live, where they were born, what color their skin is, what their occupation is or how much money they have, they are more important than another.

This way of thinking has become engrained in our systems, in our actions, in the words we say, in the way we treat each other, in the way we vote, the policies we support and sometimes even the things we preach.

For too long we have forgotten to truly see each other and to see how we are all connected.

I believe God created each and every single person. And therefore, they deserve to be seen. They deserve to be treated with love, dignity and respect. I know I don’t always do this well, so I’m asking God to help me see.

Help me see how we are all connected. Remind me that we belong to one another. Help me recognize that we each have the image of God stamped on us.

Richard Rohr goes on to say,

Faith is recognizing things in their deepest meaning. To be a person of faith means to see people as inherently connected to God and connected to yourself and therefore they must be worthy of love and dignity.

To me, when I see that connection between myself and someone else things make more sense and become clear. It makes sense why we would want to welcome the stranger. It leads to a deeper understanding of why we need to declare Black Lives Matter. It helps us see that people don't deserve to be treated less than and that the table is big enough for everyone.

We begin to see the error in exclusivity and that any kind of theology or policy that dehumanizes or marginalizes people is not truth.

We begin to recognize that string that connects each of us to one another.

This is my prayer for myself and for you today...

May we seek to be saints who see our connectedness. Who do not forget about each other.

May we have the courage to speak out against the systems, the actions and the policies that seek to erase and dehumanize people.

May we seek to be people of faith that see the world more deeply and realize that how we do anything is how we do everything.

May we seek to affirm the dignity in every person we meet.

May we move from just seeing others to recognizing the image of God represented in them.



We're all connected.

When where I am is not where you are.

My life looks nothing like I thought it would. I struggle with that sometimes. I don't know where we learn that our lives are "supposed" to look a certain way. I don't know why we think we need to take a measuring stick to other's lives and see where ours measures up. I don't know why we get so lost in the comparison game.

Blame it on social media, society, movies, friends, family, whatever it is, it's there...this feeling that maybe I'm not quite where I'm supposed to be, or those people over there really have it figured out. Sometimes I feel like there's a benchmark to meet. I look ahead and see everyone keeping up with the expectations and I'm just a little bit behind, always playing catch up.

I've had to let go of how I think my life should look. "Should" can be a dangerous word for me. It usually means I'm motivated by guilt or shame and those aren't the healthiest motivators.

I've had to let go of my measuring stick.  I can't look at life like a race or a competition where people are either ahead or behind me. Instead of choosing to see a line of people ahead of me and me trying to play catch up, I see people around me. Each in their own place, each with their own life, not ahead or behind me, but beside me. All in different places, all on different journeys, with not one being right and another wrong, but just being.

Because where I am is not where you are and that's okay. It's a beautiful thing actually. Everyone is on their own journey. Everyone is just living their story and like Shauna Niequist says, "With people, you can either connect or compare, but you can't do both." I can look at what others are doing, I can wonder what I need to do to get where I think I should be, or I can just let go and connect where I am and with those who I am lucky enough to be surrounded by.

So I'm choosing to let go of the shoulds in my life. I'm choosing to let go of the measuring sticks and the side-to-side glances calculating who I'm ahead of or behind. I'm choosing to connect instead of compare. I'm choosing to see people where they actually are. I'm choosing to look down instead of around, focusing on my journey and where I am rather than where I thought I should be.

With these choices I've found there's a whole lot of freedom to be had.

Because where i am is not where you are and that's okay