Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Thought for the Christmas Season

Do you know what is the hardest thing in the world to do? It's not climbing Mount Everest, or sending humans to the Moon, or cracking the atom. Those are child's play compared to that of which I speak.

The hardest thing in the world is breaking down those imaginary barriers that divide us. That divide nation from nation, race from race, social class from social class, husband from wife, neighbor from neighbor, brother from brother, parent from child, you from me. We spent our lives building up those barriers, tightly mortaring bricks into our psychic walls. Now, they stand tall and wide, and the voices of those outside our walls are muted, or silent.

Christmas and the New Year are symbolic times for turning over a new leaf. On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge was reborn to become as good a friend to others as any man could be. Likewise, the New Year signifies that Ur-moment of time where we stand poised between past and future. Perhaps the past was bleak; maybe the future will be brighter. We'll drink a cup of kindness yet.... That's the drill.

Christmas and New Year's are good times to do some wall-wrecking. But you must remember two things:

1.) All that stuff you buy, that you give "out of love," may serve as brick and mortar itself, if it is offered as a substitute for a meeting of hearts and minds, as a substitute for person-to-person communication.

2.) There is no such thing as "temporary wall-wrecking" or "provisional goodwill." You either make the attempt whole-heartedly and keep at it long after January 1, or you don't.

Breaking down our imaginary barriers is the hardest thing in the world to do. And possibly the most rewarding.

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