Seeing One Another: A Gift from Nature

Anais Nin said, “We don’t see the world as it is. We see it as we are.” I believe when we’re fully in the present moment, seeing, feeling, sensing, absorbing what is right in front of us, it is who we are. When I see the faces of the children and teachers who were gunned down at Robb Elementary School, my belly starts to shake, and I can’t stop the tears. Can’t. I’m a mom, a grandma. I can’t imagine how you make it through. How you get up the next morning, and the next, get breakfast for your other loved ones, take out the trash, pay bills, take a shower, clean . . . how you live through the birthday each year, grill hotdogs on the 4th of July, carve the turkey, hang the Christmas lights . . . all without the little one you’ve lost. What do you do with all that sweet – please don’t touch it – mess in the bedroom that was hurriedly left behind on that fateful morning? How do you continue on as if things were even remotely something like they used to be? How do you do that? I can’t begin to say. And yet, so often now, moms, dads, grandparents and other loved ones do—everyday.

But something else happens if we’re fully in the present moment with all the horror, the absolute most painful and tragic times of life. Sometimes we can feel ourselves abruptly jolted and cracked open, to now fully see one another as simply fellow human beings. In times like these, I could care less if those grieving are Hispanic, Republican or Democratic, black, brown or white, rich or poor. Care less. Now all I see is my sister, my brother right there in front of me. I am them. They are me. And we’re crying together.

And I feel something that is often, at least temporarily, awakened in many of us in the quake of such horror—a love for my fellow brothers and sisters that is now truly unconditional. Perhaps this is the unintentional byproduct, or could we possibly even say the gift of such times, to now be able to feel our oneness, free of labels or conditions, with those who, just yesterday, were simply strangers passing by. If so, just for a few moments, we are changed for now we see the world as it is—and as we are—one with all our brothers and sisters—beyond the surface of all those differences we may have once felt so important.

Something I love to do is to go out in nature and find different items wanting to come together to create something new and beautiful. Much like us, these nature items are, initially, unrelated in almost every way. They’re found in different places, they’re different colors, textures, sizes, and at different stages of growth and life. But when I look at what’s created, it makes me wonder if we too could come together in much the same way in times such as these?

I believe we could if we can allow ourselves to see, feel, fully know the horror of this moment—and to experience all the unconditional love it arouses. If so, maybe, just maybe, we could come together to imagine some new, more beautiful pathways forward, pathways that honor those brief moments when we were cracked open to see and remember our oneness with all our brothers and sisters.    

First nature creation of this year just brought together yesterday. . .


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17 responses to “Seeing One Another: A Gift from Nature

  1. Carolyn Tobin

    Dearest Stephanie,
    Thank you for these words of truth, love and encouragement.
    I find myself asking what is my calling in times like this? I feel only love and sadness for the young gunman, but I’m angry at politicians and law makers who refuse to act to make this country safer for our kids.

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      I so hear you Carolyn…such an important question we must each ask ourselves…thanks so much for sharing…

  2. Ahjan

    Also as our ‘Revolutionary Love’ facilitated group has gleaned from Sikh author Valerie Kaur, all our emotions are to be experienced, acknowledged, grieved and released from our bodies. Your visceral description Stephanie has been felt by many. Now what?

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      For me it’s not just about experiencing, acknowledging, grieving and releasing. It’s also about honoring the gift received. When the mind is in equanimity or neutral, all emotions can flow through free of our interference and we discover that where our deepest joys and sorrows meet there is only love…

  3. Ahjan

    I know, we dance anyway, dance our Love.

  4. Linda Fraser

    Tomorrow Christian faith communities will reflect on ‘Unity’. Yes we can open ourselves to each other when we are hurting. I appreciate your insight here: For me, Love and Suiffering are two sides of the same coin. Squeeze the coin and they come together…

  5. Julie

    So grateful you share your thoughts, feelings and perspective…you always help me see more clearly what’s in my heart, but so jumbled. You are my wonderful glasses, put on my blurry eyes…

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      My dearest Julie…thank you so much for your kind words…I am grateful my sharing was helpful to you…I love you…

  6. Natalie Newell

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you for speaking out on this latest tragedy & trying to make sense of it.
    I want to believe that there is possibly a greater good that will come from it but how many more lives will be lost before something is done about the guns?
    Thanks for your love of humanity!
    May the answers come soon to solving this epidemic of violence.
    Peace & blessings,

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      “Epidemic of Violence” is such a good way to describe it. There are so many important issues all intersecting here: gun violence, mental health, growing economic inequality, to name just a few. And I so agree that actions must be taken! And I also pray that times such as these will cut so deep as to, just perhaps, stir an awakening in more of us of our common humanity.
      Thanks so much for adding your voice Natalie!

  7. Ginny

    Stephanie, Thank you so much for this. That tragedy broke my heart and I had similar thoughts. We each need to do our part and you pointed that out so well. I really appreciate you.Ginny

  8. Sam

    Just beautiful, I know that “ cracked open” moment. It happened when I was 13, I will forever feel everyone’s pain in whatever it is that is painful to each of them. My calling is aiding the wounded hearts one soul at a time. Some just need human contact, also known as a hug! There is unapologetically love in every question and answer we encounter.

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