Monday, November 16, 2009

Wayfaring Strangers

There is a tradition in many cultures that we "entertain angels unawares," that things are not fully what they appear to be. Most of us have probably had this kind of experience.

You are walking down a street, and a stranger smiles at you, as if he knows you, as if she knows your heart. You turn, and in a moment, so do they, and something of value passes between you. You softly bow your head and smile, and go on about your way.

Life passing unto life.

Is it you or the stranger who needs that connection more? Does it really matter?

Much is the same with our religious traditions. So many of them echo the same ideas. Compassion is greater than indifference. Hope is stronger than despair. Love is the tie that binds us all one to the other.

I've long enjoyed Gibran's take on this:

When He was twelve years old, one day He led a blind man across the brook to the safety of the open road.
And in gratitude the blind man asked Him, “Little boy, who are you?”
And He answered, “I am not a little boy. I am Jesus.”
And the blind man said, “Who is your father?”
And He answered, “God is my father.”
And the blind man laughed and replied, “Well said, my little boy. But who is your mother?”
And Jesus answered, “I am not your little boy. And my mother is the earth.”

Wayfaring strangers. Travelers on one road, all heading home.

All heading home.

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