07 April 2008

seeing the stones that pave the way

Are people generally good?

How many studies and stories and sermons have asked such a question? Too many, I would suppose. I decided the other day that I no longer care about the answer. Good or bad, we are all the same.

I sat and read the Kindle in a local coffee shop for several hours and I began to notice that an incredible cross-section of society was stopping by for a cup of community. Workers in overalls, businesswomen in high heels, retirees with nowhere to be anymore, and students with nowhere to be yet…

I watched the way that they interacted with the baristas. I watched their nervous eyes, perhaps aware that they were being studied, perhaps just trying to be accepted in the stringent pantheon of coffeehouse cool. Some of the folks were known by the staff. Some desperately wanted to be.

One thing that seemed evident to me is that we are all the same. We are all seeking recognition and fulfillment, whether in lattes or lifestyles. We are all capable of compassion and kindness, of hate and vulgarity.

Maybe that idea makes me a soft-hearted fool. I’m okay with that. But what if we dropped the walls that we have built? What if we saw each other as we see ourselves, as flawed yet hopeful vessels? What if we looked into the eyes of the people we run across and searched for common ground and shared history?

I think if we could just see the brokenness around us and grow the hope in others, the world might just be a different place.

I imagine that kindness, humility, and hope are the stones that pave the way to that better, shared future.

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