The number one lesson of this season


It is the holiday season, Thanksgiving tomorrow, Black Friday the next day, and Christmas spirit is full on. A holiday season is expected to be joyous. Yet, we all know that, for many in our society today, the holiday season can be the most painful time of the year.

When some observe Thanksgiving others will be demonstrating around the country, not in a Macy’s parade, but in anger and frustration over teenagers – and even children – being killed by those who would be protecting them. While some enjoy feasts and banquets, others are starving, even if not during the season. These are sharp contradictions.

We may see some legality and rationale for not holding responsible a police officer who fatally shoots a civilian, or a child playing – dangerously, perhaps – with a toy. The tragedy of legality vis a vis the moral imperative of the preciousness of life is often accepted as a tragedy.

Sorrow and sadness in the midst of joyous celebration is indeed tragic. At the same time, deep within us, we know that something is wrong. These contradictions cry out to alert us that we are on a seriously flawed path. If we do nothing we will continue to live this life of contradictions marked with tragedy after tragedy.

Let us begin by realizing and affirming that the universe is balanced. Planets and galaxies are not constantly in collision and we have not been extinct. Humans, in contrast, are engineers of imbalance when we fail to know that we are part of the universe and not masters of it.

Our number one lesson – in summary – and to quote Joanna Macy is this: “all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain”.


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