Monday, January 13, 2014

Incomplete Perspective

I've been thinking a lot lately about how easily I forget that my perspective is narrow and incomplete.  I too often consider my view to be the end all be all, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when in reality it is only a part of the reality of the world, one small view of the mystery of life.  I can broaden my view by listening to others, by observing through a different lens than the one I usually use.  Last week in prayer, I used the following poem.  Its message continues to reverberate within me and so it feels important to share it.  I hope it also stops you and gives you a little to chew on.

The Right Word

Outside the door, 
lurking in the shadows,
is a terrorist.

Is that the wrong description? 
Outside that door, 
taking shelter in the shadows,
is a freedom-fighter.

I haven't got this right. 
Outside, waiting in the shadows,
is a hostile militant.

Are words no more
than waving, wavering flags?
Outside your door, watchful in the shadows,
is a guerrilla warrior.

God help me. 
Outside, defying every shadow,
stands a martyr. I saw his face. 

No words can help me now. 
Just outside the door, lost in shadows, 
is a child who looks like mine.

One word for you.
Outside my door, 
his hand too steady, 
his eyes too hard
is a boy who looks like your son, too.

I open the door. 
Come in, I say.
Come in and eat with us.

The child steps in 
and carefully, at my door, 
takes off his shoes.  

-Imitiaz Dharker, from Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights

May we recognize the contradictions and complexities of people and our world. May we learn to see each other, every "other" that we meet, as one deserving of our love, care, and hospitality.  May we open our doors. 

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