Called Home

The Course has many twists and turns,

Each with a lesson we must learn.

Don’t judge your path when valleys come,

Stay humble when the battle’s won.

Be grateful in all times and places,

With love and service, greet all faces.

Walk your way in touch with all

Have no regrets when Home you’re called.

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Cell

Knowing all I used to be,

How could I possibly love me?

Thorny branches grip my heart

And pierce me when I try to start

To give love to the parts of me

I hope no one will ever see.

Yet only if I face the pain

Will its hard grip begin to wane.

I will break free from their sharp hold

And heal my scarring from of old.

We all have our thorny cell,

That keeps us trapped inside our hell.

But all of us possess the key

That breaks our bonds and sets us free.

The key is that we self-forgive.

For in this life that we all live,

There’s no one who won’t make mistakes,

And we’ll keep on long as it takes

To learn our lessons and to grow.

That’s the reason, don’t you know,

For every failure and misdeed

To teach each person what they need.

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Class is in Session

I was reading Matthew 23 last night, where Jesus says to his disciples, “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.” You can find the whole chapter for context here. I know that the passage takes place within the Christ-disciple dynamic, but I can never help but expand things to a more universal perspective.

After all, we are all students, aren’t we? I mean, some of us are harder to teach than others, but we are all making our way through life not always knowing what we are doing. We are constantly having to stretch and grow and learn, and the only time we really fail is when we dare to believe that we know it all.

Everyone is at a different phase in their learning, and condemning someone for that is hypocritical, as all of us have areas in which we could make some improvement. Sure, there are ideas and practices that need to be called out, altered, and/or stopped, but too often we confuse ideas with people, taking out systemic frustrations on individual humans. What’s needed instead is compassion and empathy alongside righteous action, because God knows there isn’t a person alive or dead who “got it all right.”

By the same token, we need to be more gracious with ourselves. When we see our failures as indicators of who we are rather than lessons to be learned, we begin to define ourselves by those failures. We become self-fulfilling prophecies, caught in a horrible cycle of self-judgment and self-sabotage.

Life is one enormous lesson, and we are all students. We are each at different phases of our lesson plan, just trying to get to the next step. This should be a source of solidarity, not division.

Ultimately, every belief system, every way of being in the world is an attempt to understand the mystery of our existence. We may interpret this Mystery in different ways that don’t always agree, but the fact that we are all struggling and striving in this work in some shape or form should cause us to lock arms and march toward that Mystery together.

Peace be with you!