Monday, January 23, 2017

Let the moon light the way...

I’m writing this column on the night of the full moon. If I look out the window or step into the open air, I can gaze upon the same glowing orb that people have been staring at for as long as human beings have existed on this planet.

Looking at the moon, whether it is completely full or a mere sliver, is one of many physical phenomena that unite us as a people. In a world that has become increasingly divisive, I find it helpful to remind myself of things we have in common.

We have the moon and stars, sunrises and sunsets. Snowflakes. Raindrops. Wind blowing through leaves. Trees. Flowers. Butterflies. Bees. Wildlife of all kinds on land, in the air or in the sea. Oceans and lakes and rivers and streams. Water — precious water — and the air that we breathe.

Regardless of differences in our political views, religious beliefs, age, race or sexual orientation, each one of us is a person sharing the same planet. Despite different degrees of education, contrasting financial status, the type of work we do or our lack of a job, we all look upward at the same sky.

Some of us are strong while others are weak. Some of us are in good health while others are ill. Some of us glide through life without care or woe while others suffer seemingly insurmountable physical and mental challenges. Yet, despite these many differences and struggles, the ground beneath us gives us all support. Each of us is the beneficiary of gravity, a force that forces us to maintain our balance.

The older I get, the more drawn I become to those elements of commonality that define us as a people. Sure, I get upset — very upset at times — by what I see and hear. I shudder at the loss of dignity, respect and honor in our culture, at the public acceptance of bullying, lies and greed. I worry about the future of our planet under the leadership of people who value personal profit over public safety and scientific fact.

Despite the direction our country — our world — seems headed, I am buoyed by the knowledge that I am not alone. Looking at the moon puts life in perspective. Doing so reminds me that I am one of many billion inhabitants of a world that has withstood catastrophic challenges. I like to think that, as a people, we have learned from our mistakes. I like to think those things that unite us — our humanity, our ability to love, care for others, hope and dream, our existence in the world of nature — ultimately will triumph over political agendas and private gain.

I look up at the night sky and feel the wonder of life on a planet populated by people who often forget their connection to the bigger picture. But our world is too precious to be forgotten. Our world is too important to disregard. Our world is too essential to take for granted. Just as moonlight illuminates darkness, each of us has the power to brighten the path of tomorrow.

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