There’s a reason I chose an Aspen grove as the header image for this site. The trees all look like individual trees, but I learned years ago (on a trip to Aspen, naturally) that the Aspen grove is the largest single organism in the world. All those trees are actually one organism.
This is the philosophy behind everything I stand for. I believe there is a life force begging us all – all humanity – to consider that we are one large organism. I call this force God. You might prefer another word.
The photo I used as my site’s home image zooms in on one tree but shows its neighbors surrounding it. (Google says the photo is an aspen grove – personally I think it looks more like maple, but I’m no tree expert). As the featured image for this post, I’ve chosen an aspen grove photo zoomed out on the whole grove. (Again, they look more like birch to me, but that’s not really the point). I believe my work will be a jumping back and forth between the zoomed in and the zoomed out as I try to consider this giant organism called humanity. It’s a million (or 7 billion, actually) different trees, but each one deserves attention as an individual. We are simultaneously whole as a person and also part of something bigger.
Have you ever noticed the silent, intangible, and unnamed energy that sometimes becomes obvious between two people? Among a group of people? Within a family, or a chosen family? With a total stranger? A force of attraction – not sexual attraction – a spiritual attraction. I’d like to investigate that.
Have you heard of quantum entanglement? The basic premise is that you can take two particles that were generated together and have formed a bond, and then separate them by a large distance and watch as they continue to react as though they were together. The one far away, for example, might react to stimuli placed on the nearby particle. My hunch is that the human population is a lot like those separated particles, a lot like that aspen grove. We seem so distinct – and we are; we each have out own thoughts, rights, identities, bodies – yet, there is something in us that also unites us. What is it?
I don’t know. But that’s what this blog is. I believe that thing beckons us to name and respond to it. To the underlying unity that draws us together. Our world is one of separation. It’s forced separation. It’s violence. It’s anger. It’s judgment. It’s apathy. It’s isolation. But it isn’t supposed to be.
I’m a unity hopeful. No – that doesn’t mean I want us to give up all those beautiful things that make us individuals. Ideas. Talents. Bodies. Rights. Rather, I believe our individual human dignity is best expressed when our unique, individual attributes are meaningfully invited into a whole, intact human family.
I don’t know what unity is supposed to look like. I know it’s not gluing ourselves together, or putting ourselves in a giant version of one of these “get along shirts” (although they are pretty cool). But I know it’s something, and I’m out to get to the bottom of it.
It probably looks something like authenticity, and radical acceptance, and honest investigation into each other and into the divine, and accountability, and reconciliation. It’s seeing the whole forest without loosing touch with the one tree that is me. I’m sure there’s more. Let’s start there.
I believe in the depravity of humans. I believe we have messed up royally. I see how we hurt one another. I see our violence and our hatred and our judgment and our unwillingness to forgive and our unwillingness to dialogue. I know we are capable of the worst.
I also believe in the good of humans. I beleive we have been offered a grace that trumps the evil we have been sucked into. I have seen countless men, women, and children demonstrate a love that isn’t of this world. They’ve somehow tapped into this thing I’m talking about, this thing that unites us, and discovered empathy. And compassion. And generosity. And curiosity. And forgiveness. And trust. I want to join the ranks of these sainted bringers of love and unity to a world that has forgotten we are all brothers and sisters. I believe in the good of humans because there is something bigger than us that will help us out of where we are. We are called to be that for each other. We are called to go “hands in” on being a part of a bigger human family. I’m ready.
I’m a unity hopeful. Join me if you are, too.