Celebrating the whole

One of the recurrent themes of this week has been to remember it’s not just about us…

However, there is so much around that turns our gaze back to us, as individuals. Trying to make sense of where we are, see why we’re here and comparing ourselves to each other.

And that’s the thing. It’s not about us, as an island. We can never have a singular identity!

We were birthed. We live. And we die. All in a relational context.

Even those who die alone testify to their context in some way or another.

On Thursday I had a call from a stranger because a vulnerable lady, who my family had been connected with over many years, had been found dead. With no next of kin. I had written to her earlier in the year and my number was on the card. And the person who called me had been watching out for her for decades.

Yet so much of our media, our self-help books, our culture and even our spiritual gatherings deal in the singular. We have lost a sense of community and our part in the wider world.

Restoring community – whole as people

It doesn’t have to be just about me, or me and mine.

Indeed, the courage to be open to diversity has never been more important. And to do that we have to also look at ourselves.

Not to shore up our identity, but to recognise those perceptions that need to be named. Which otherwise limit our capacity to see the other.

This was brought home to me during the week listening to Krista Tippett’s On Being conversation with the writer and activist Darnell Moore. This exchange embodied uncomfortable conversations as a sign of love. Gently and viscerally.

Unless we can see and embrace the other – at whatever level – then our sense of community is shallow. And we can take it or leave it if it asks too much of us.

In our post-industrial world, community is both the crucial expression of an identity bigger than me, and it’s the thing we find hard to walk towards. There are so many other things that promise to fill our “belonging“ gap. But ultimately can’t deliver.

Restoring connection – whole as purpose

Being able to see who and where we are as part of a bigger purpose requires us to shift perspective.

We easily get caught up in the mess and chaos of now and our hope drains away. And we assume it’s all up to us – or at least I do – far too easily.

So when we’ve run out of resources – internal or external – our inclination is to look inward. And we continue the downward spiral, prompted by the fear that there is nothing there…

But it’s simply not true.

We are enough and we have enough. Because it’s not just about us. It’s our role as part of a much bigger story. And we are not the storyteller.

Therefore, it’s not about the size of our role, but about our being prepared to show up. And do the things that are our contribution.

The multitude of little things, with kindness and intent. That builds up the whole.

Finding the things that would be missing, if we weren’t there.

And because it’s not about us – only – then the pressure to be, shifts to the journey to becoming.

To become the change we want to see. That relies on the whole, together, not alone.

On Wednesday evening we ended our conversation with Meri reminding us of an old Irish blessing. This would be offered to a friend, neighbour and stranger as a way of affirming them and wishing them well.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rain fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

This indeed is a different way of looking at where we are. Shifting our perspective and celebrating the whole.

Because we can be part of making the world a better place. Abundantly, together.

Thanks for reading


This week

Started with a question. And continued probing, opening up new perspectives each day.