We are a vast community of all different sorts of people, most work over 70,000 hours in their lifetime. Here, we live in extensive neighborhoods of homes that differ only in size and the quality of the surrounding homes. Extravagant houses, apartments, rentals, where genius is born every day. Behind the brick veneer, vinyl siding, peeling paint, dwell dreams that are not that different from one another – to work a good job, make our payments, school our children, retire with some semblance of dignity.
Maybe we push the dream and own a restaurant, daycare, contracting business, law practice, farm, newspaper.
Some of us are not as smart as others, some of us have taken a fall, some of us have gained favor, excelled, were in the right place at the right time. E.L. Doctorow wrote that we color code and live in social enclaves and don’t see beyond the walls of our fortresses. We can be multi-culturally suspicious and intolerant.
We are thousands of lives running in all different directions wary and indifferent. We rely on those around us to delineate ourselves, to tell us who we are and how to act.
We’re anorexic, overweight, in debt, paid off, cancer free, pill popping, workaholic, drama queens. We’re late, always on time, frugal, cheap, neat, unkempt, broke, intelligent, ambitious, thick, unhealthy, ignorant, inclusive, community minded, religious, agnostic, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon. We plan for the future, sabotage today, rewrite history, enter agreements, break promises, watch FOX, lean forward, vote sometimes, remain apathetic, take action.
We’re movers, shakers, cigarette makers, land holders, trailer dwellers.
We’ve taken chances and won, played the lottery and lost, sent our children to college, military, work; started families and helped them understand adulthood. Some have experienced success and then failed and gotten up again, some continue to be broken.
We conceive, live, anguish, celebrate, die, remember, forget.
We are the people of everywhere, here, standing alone, with friends, neighbors, compatriots.
But this is our place, our county, community, roads, sidewalks, water pipes, sewer lines, schools, libraries, community centers, police, fire stations, revitalizations.
They don’t belong to one man, woman, board, committee, party, administrator, staff, developer, business.
Countless years go by and do we get what we want, do we know what we want, do they know what we want?
No matter the color of our skin, who we call God, who we love, what’s in our pockets, how we’ve aged or been struck down, we are all the same. We live lives of yearning and regret, servitude and dependence. We’re only here for a short time; can we afford to live in fear of someone who is not the same as we are? It seems to me that we should be able to understand one another without knowing one another, because our lives are really the same. The universe is expanding at the speed of God’s finger. At the end we will be judged the same. Why should we waste our time judging now?
Who am I to say what is right? I can only tell the truth. But it is my job to warn, to find a little injustice and shine a little light on it so that we can make decisions – not judgments. No one is without judgment, we all judge. Dante said of the seven deadly sins, hubris or pride was the most serious – “love of self perverted to hatred and contemptfor one’s neighbour.”
No, this is not Sunday school; nor could I measure up to a man of God, but recently, I have spotted serious misjudgments that have hurt more than just one of us – a macaca moment. When we judge others, aren’t we really just judging ourselves?