REMEMBERING WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS

Leviticus 19:33-34
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Stranger and Strangers

Stranger and Strangers

I am writing this
the day after the attacks
in Paris, France.
I am saddened for
the people of France and of Paris.
My heart cries out:
for the pain of those
who now must face
the sudden loss
of friends, colleagues,
and loved ones.
My soul aches:
for humanity,
for this community of world
in which we live,
for
God…
It comes to me that
if it is true,
and I believe it is,
that each and every
one of us human beings
on this planet
carries a piece of the same
spark of divinity,
and that pain causes pain
injury causes injury,
and that cause indeed
is concatenate to effect,
then all we can do
as individuals is to
change our role
in the causes
for the planet’s
high quotient of violence.
I believe that our
wrong and violent
thoughts and actions
are part of the cause
for the global acting out
of wrongness and violence,
and that it is up to us
to make the change.
We can make a commitment,
a choice,
to no longer be part
of the terror.
And while we cannot make
any big global changes,
we can make those
small,
personal,
intimate,
changes
that are needed to build
the bigger changes.
You are only you.
I am only me.
But we are, indeed, we.
And as me,
then you,
and finally
we,
we can become a movement of
the kind of love that can make
a difference,
make a change.
Yes,
hate is hate,
woundedness is woundedness,
but love is love
and love heals.
We can no longer act as if
people we have not yet
met are strangers to us.
Xenophobia is,
in my opinion,
much more evil than
racism,
and we need to be healed of it.

Jim Morrison wrote
“People are strange when you’re a stranger…
When you’re strange
Faces come out of the rain.
When you’re strange
No one remembers your name
When you’re strange…”

Have you ever been a stranger?
Has no one ever
not remembered your name?
Can you remember
a time when
you were vulnerable
and alone?
You are asked to—
remember.
Then,
seeing a stranger on the street,
at your door,
in a place they do not belong
remember that time
when you
did not belong,
got into the wrong place,
were being stared at
and wanted to run,
hide,
get away.
Then you are expected
to treat the stranger
with the same compassion
as you wished
you could be treated…
We know these strangers.
We see these strangers everyday.
We walk among them.
We are asked to decide for ourselves
the weight and
shape and
texture and
volume of compassion—
of this love that the time has come for—
and offer that much
to each stranger we meet.
This is what change can build upon.
This is now love can make a difference.
This is how wounds can heal.
We first make the
change within
our own selves.
Here’s how we can
make this conversion of self
so we can be part of
the dream of
the larger healing
of the world.
I have read how doing
the same wrong thing
over and over
while expecting different results
is a definition of insanity.
The only true answer
to the question,
how can we truly change?
Why don’t we who can
offer a change of heart?
Why not get over
our own anger and rage,
and find peace in our own souls?
Why don’t we explore
the ramifications
of hope and joy
in our own lives
so we have more to offer
each other
than futile posturing
born of our own woundedness?
Changing the world can never
happen by
spreading the poisons
with which we are filled.
Take the challenge:
get help to be of help;
detoxify your own soul
to be an antidote
to the poisons of fear;
get peace to offer peace;
get healed to offer healing;
get rid of your own
inner violence
to stop the world’s violence.
It may be easier
said than done but
it can be done.

So yes,
The time has come for love.
Learn to truly love yourself
so you can teach the stranger
about love.

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