How do you tell people they are all walking around shining like the sun?
Yesterday these two were at each other’s throats heading into school. And today, they can’t stop hugging and picking each other up, I think the official game was “let’s see who’s strong enough to carry whom?” I stopped it right before my oldest crouched down and tried to get his brother atop his shoulders. They are not quite stable enough for that gymnastic move.
This morning, they were all so full of light. And questions. Silly, silly questions. “Mom, I know you can get car sick but can you get building sick?” When I responded “huh?”, I got back “Aren’t grownups supposed to know everything?”
This morning was such a contrast from yesterday and as I watched them call for their friends and run to go into school, I had a distinct feeling of joy. They were like little beams of sunlight shining on my morning.
But weren’t they also shining like the sun yesterday, even if it felt much cloudier?
Thomas Merton would argue that they were… that they always are. He would say that once we see each other for who we really are, beloved children of God, we can’t help but see each and every person shining like the sun.
Even when we disagree, even when we get angry about the choices another person is making, even when we feel like we will never understand them – God still loves them wholeheartedly. The light of that love shines through them daily, even in their worst moments – and it shines through us as well, even in ours.
So today, my prayer is that we may see others and ourselves as Thomas Merton did when he stood at the corner of Fourth and Walnut and saw love manifested in everyone there.
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”