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How many times do we count in our minds one, two, three…….always starting with one? This distinction between one and more is among the first concepts learned as we emerge from infancy in languages and cultures throughout the world.
Many religions avow one underlying unity. Governments with their many complexities choose one individual to lead. April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Intriguing as the other planets and moons are we have found none other that could support us, only one planet does that.
Much has been made of our political partisanship. While finding common ground in government is seldom a smooth process it is now mostly torn, two entities glaring from either side of a chasm, and whether shouting meanly or speaking with civility, endgames remain elusive. It is most likely not just coincidence that the rising political divide has been paralleled by rising income inequality. A disappearing middle class creates another chasm making opportunities more distant and cutting us in two. At critical times the chasms reveal even more. Corporations saved while small business loans run dry and underprivileged populations suffering disproportionate loss during the COVID19 pandemic are current examples.
It gave me great pleasure to watch the recent “ One World at Home Together”. Musicians, artists, and spokespersons from around our Earth powerfully gave their message. Music, that most beautiful example of unison, was created as performers synched voices and instruments simultaneously across the globe.
One……., we should pause and pay homage to this oft spoken three letter word. Feel its power and let it guide us for there is only one humanity, one Earth, and one opportunity.
Donald J Miller
Last year, great plans were underway to celebrate. Then came the COVID-19 and the best laid plans changed. Now, we are in a significant pause, sheltering in place out of love for our fellow human beings. This quieter time carries its own gifts.
For me, this pause allows the mental and emotional space to reflect on my relationship with Earth and with one another. It’s been a time to step back and think about what matters and to notice what often gets overlooked. This gentle isolation reminds me that I love connecting with others AND that I’m very grateful to Earth for the many gifts she gives us all.
Cleaning and sorting through closets and stored memorabilia, I’ve thought about my lifestyle over the years. Purchasing more than I needed, I’ve been far more owned by my possessions than the other way around. And I’ve used more than my share of Earth’s resources. For that I’m sad, feel remorse, and vow to be more sensitive going forward.
Home for weeks now, living in a radius of 8 miles, I experience a beautifully interconnected community. Spontaneous and organized kindness sparkle every day, connecting people and reminding me that none of us is really alone, if we don’t want to be. Through businesses and community groups, I can help others. I breathe better, noting that the air is cleaner with fewer cars on the roads and fewer jets in the air.
These weeks reinforce how everything interconnects—Earth, people, culture, behavior. My own actions and attitude ripple through my community. Let me make those ripples loving and life-giving. I am grateful for the cleaner air, the sounds of frogs and birdsong, and the lovely fragrance of Springtime.
How do I hold on to the lessons of this pause? Let me be respectful of all, especially those with no voice. Let me be grateful for all the small blessings that come, confident that they are gifts of the Great Mystery that we call God. Let me do what I can to care for Earth and one another.
I celebrate Earth Day 2020 with gratitude.
St. Hubert Church parishioner, member of the
Greening Congregations Collaborative of Whidbey Island
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