Monday, October 17, 2011

All Are Our Neighbors

It seems to me that the question is not do we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, but how do we love ourselves and who do we consider our neighbors? Do we coddle ourselves, allowing our weaknesses free reign in our lives or do we discipline ourselves to use our strengths for the "feeding" of those less gifted (blessed) than we?

Do we hoard our talents and other gifts in fear that someone will be perceived as equal to or better than we and/or our tribe members if they learn what we know? In a true community we are honest about our strengths and weaknesses. False humility is a form of denial of the sacred in ourselves. Asking for assistance with a humble heart is a way to honor the sacred in others. Sharing our gifts freely is a way to build partnerships, which I believe is the pattern for paradise on earth as it is in heaven. Pride in the efforts of others without honor for the dignity and sacred spark in the achievements of those on whom we depend for what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall put on seems to me to be false pride.

I spent many years in food service management, where I worked with many people who had marginal job skills and very poor education. Some were of very limited intellect. The joys of watching them achieve a sense of wonder in their own abilities as they slowly learned how to properly make a sandwich or sanitize a sink full of pots was a great reward to me. It pained me to see the owners of the firms for which I worked cheating people out of their hourly wages because many of them had no math skills and didn't know how to add up their own hours or read their own pay stubs. Management by intimidation and success by climbing on the shoulders of those we hold down seems to me the sin of false pride.

We fool ourselves into believing that we have no caste system in our America. Those that provide the most basic of our needs are treated like untouchables and held down with poor wages and lack of access to conception control. When will we get past the "divine rights of kings" mentality and truly act as if we are all created equal? When we get it right in our country, we will be an example to all our neighbors, no matter their race, religion, creed, or gender. All are our neighbors in an interconnected world.

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