I live in a lovely cul-de-sac filled with the most wonderful people. We often meet up in one another’s yards. We watch for signs of trouble and comfort each other in difficult times. We are good folk as diverse as any group might be. In the end we ignore our differences and simply love and respect the fact that we are all just humans attempting to do our best from day to day. Our little street is like a small town in the middle of a great big metropolis. It is a haven from the challenges that so often drive people apart. It is a place of genuine love.
Recently we were awakened from our usual routines by the sound of sirens. Running to the front windows I saw an ambulance, accompanied by a fire truck stopping at one of my neighbor’s homes. Soon our neighborhood “Mr. Good Guy,” Patrick, was texting all of us to let us know that the elderly man who lived in that home was near death. A priest had come to administer the last rights to him and they would be rushing him to the hospital very soon in the hopes of forestalling his demise.
We all went into a mode of prayerful hope. We hugged the man’s daughter as she tearfully got into her car to follow her father to the hospital. A pall of sadness lingered over the street until we learned that the old man was going to live to see another Christmas. We were overjoyed and filled with gratitude, not only that he would not die, but also that we lived amongst such caring individuals.
Last week during the celebrations of Christmas I heard a raucous commotion that also drew me to my front room window. It was a gloriously happy sight as the elderly man’s family convened to be with him. There was much hugging and kissing and enough laughter and joy to fill the whole area with the Christmas spirit. I found myself smiling from ear to ear and getting into the real meaning of the season in the most remarkable way. It was a lovely outcome for a family whose holiday might have otherwise been so dreary.
I thought of that priest who so quickly and selflessly rushed to the home to anoint the man and pray for his healing. I marveled at the dedication of the firefighters who so patiently and professionally took the man to a waiting medical team that diagnosed his problem and quickly brought him back to life. I marveled at how beautiful our world is when we simply love one another without thoughts of politics or religion or race or belief.
We are all one. All the same when stripped of of the many labels that we apply to one another. We are born as innocent as can be. We grow and learn and experience life in many different ways, but at heart we have similar hopes and dreams for ourselves and those we love. Sometimes no matter how hard we work we are crushed under realities that threaten to derail our optimism. When we witness unvarnished love such as I see on a daily basis on my street, we know that we will be able to continue forward no matter what has happened.
There will be both good times and bad in the coming year. It is the inevitable fate of being human. If each of us simply loved our fellow humans with patience and understanding, it would be a beautiful day in every neighborhood across the world. Perhaps this should be the one New Years resolution that should guide us through the coming days and weeks and months.
We should be asking ourselves what we might do to help, to comfort, to care. We should embrace each other all across the world in our commonalities rather than focusing so much on what is different. We might find that our diversity is wonderfully beautiful and exciting. We can learn much from one another. Our own lives will be enriched beyond measure.
My hope is that one day we might import the spirit of love and kindness that is so prevalent on my street to the wider world. I’d like to believe that we are a microcosm of what is possible with our many races, political beliefs, and even sexual preferences blending together in a lovely mix of tolerance and real feelings for each person’s welfare. There is no judgement here and that is wonderful.
I suspect that we are all weary of viruses and bickering and a feeling that we have lost something very important in the past many years. Perhaps this is the year to instead just embrace people just as they are and then move forward together, sharing and making sacrifices for the betterment of the world. In the end we must surely know that we are all live in a global neighborhood that must somehow learn to work together. It’s not a fantasy to believe that this is possible and it can begin one street at a time.