First day of Fall 2021
My dear beloved family of the world,
You are my aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren. We are all related even though we may have never met each other. There are so many of us that a reunion is impossible but perhaps there is the tiniest of chance that with the marvel of the internet you may stumble across my letter to you and realize that I think of you often and I truly love you.
I try to imagine what you may be doing in your tiny village or teeming city. I wonder and worry about your welfare and pray that life is treating you well, but stories on the news alarm me for some of you. I want more than anything to do something to help you in your suffering but realize that I have neither the means nor the power to take care of all of the problems that seem to arise on a daily basis. I can only wish that we would all finally admit that we are together in our journey through life. What happens to one of us should matter to all of us.
The history of our sibling rivalry has all too often been bloodthirsty. Perhaps our baser tendencies began when Adam and Eve were not satisfied with the paradise that they had. Like them we seem to always be wanting more, and so we steal from each other. Our children have been watching and learning from us much like Cain did from observing his parents. Eventually his jealousy and anger lead to hate and violence against his own brother Abel.
Our greatest ancestors have tried to teach us lessons in living proper peaceful lives together, but we have struggled to learn from mistakes of the past. It saddens me that we have never found a way to be blind to the differences in our appearance, the colors of our skins, the beliefs that we hold about God. It should be so easy to simply love and embrace each other, but we have made the world so complex that we hide in our respective corners of it protecting our property and belongings as though some of us are more deserving of it than others. We lock our doors and our borders and arm ourselves with harsh words, laws, and, all too often, weapons.
We are so innocent when we are born. We know nothing of the world. We willingly learn whatever language is spoken wherever we happen to be. We smile the same way and cry the same way when we are hungry. We respond to the loving touch of adults who care for us. We are curious and eager to learn and explore. If only we would remain that way. If only we never got tarnished by the flaws and sins of humanity!
I know that most of us try very hard to be the best versions of ourselves. We nurture our creative and inventive sides. We love the family and friends that we have actually met. We have no bad feelings toward other humans, but we are products of centuries of complex laws and thinking that demarcated us into tribes, villages, states, countries, continents. We seem to have forgotten that borders were once open to all. We mixed and mingled and, yes, sometimes fought and drew blood.
In a perfect world it might have been more wonderful. We might have imagined as John Lennon did a world where we all lived in peace in a brotherhood of man, sharing all the world. It could have happened. The Bible indicates that it should have happened, but we began to covet one another and to kill. Somehow when we spilled that first blood it became our curse to deny each other, creating compounds in which we store our possessions and wrangle over money and define success in ownership and power. All too often we have hidden behind religions as excuses for our most hateful ways.
What a gooey mess we have made! It hurts my heart to see what we have done. All I seem to be able to do is work toward my dream of eternal peace on this earth for the millions and millions of people in my earthy family by being kind and loving. If that seems naive, then I admit to being guilty and I will nonetheless continue to be so. I refuse to give up on the ideal of the world living as one. It is when we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of caring for this great big family that the struggles begin and we unravel and fight. I don’t want to do that. I want instead to let you know that I love you and think of you so often.
I suppose my letter to you sounds a bit like only offering thoughts and prayers after a horrible tragedy. I have little influence in my waning years, but I will draw attention to your needs. I will do my best to inform others and convince them of our responsibilities to one another. I will cast my votes for individuals who want to move in a direction of embracing each of you. I will attempt to live the way I think that each of us should. It seems like very small steps, but if a butterfly can affect the world by flapping its wings then surely my tiny movements when taken collectively with the efforts of others may bring a change in how we view each other.
I love you all. That is the place from which I begin. It is how we all must start if we are to heal the wounds of our human history. We are a global family and every single one of you is important. This is what I believe. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.