Consider that we are of one source and act accordingly

March 28, 2011|By PAULA M. MYERS

As we welcome springtime, let us help plant seeds of peace in Washington County. To prepare the soil of our hearts, we can find inspiration in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Scriptures of our faiths:

“I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him, and if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Looking out for the needs of our fellow human beings should be uppermost in our minds. The well-being of our community depends on taking care of others. It’s time to look at each other with love and see commonalities. If our actions come from the heart, it will be natural to help others and bridge the gap of people differences.   

“We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.  We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We must learn to share others’ pain. We all know suffering. We all bleed the same color. We’ve been through fires, turbulence, crime, disease and disasters. All of us need shelter, food, love and compassion.  Everyone needs friends. Maybe someone helped you. Could it be time to return the favor?   Put your good intentions into action.

“Love ye all religions and all races with a love that is true and sincere and show that love through deeds and not through the tongue; for the latter hath no importance, as the majority of men are, in speech, well-wishers, while action is the best.” — Abdu'l-Bahá, Baha’i scripture    

Here in Washington County there are folks of a variety of races, cultures, religions and ethnicity. Our religious practices may not be the same, but our differences need not tear us apart. Learning to appreciate the differences is one of the rewards of participating in the Interfaith Coalition here in Washington County.  

How about visiting a different church, or a synagogue or mosque, and worshiping with new folks? We come from One Source, and are flowers of one garden.  

The Almighty Gardener bestows upon us a medley of skin tones, and this should not be a source of division. We give a bouquet of variegated flowers to a loved one on a special occasion. Why? Because the diversity adds to the beauty of the whole!

Would it be too difficult to help out the new neighbors from another country? How about asking this family to dinner? Our ancestors were once immigrants, too, and had to find their way in a new world.  Share your family stories; ask them about theirs.

“Do your part to live in peace with everybody, as much as possible.” — The New Testament, Romans 12:18

Begin with an open mind and an open heart. Our world has gotten so small. If everyone tried to find common ground with others, wouldn’t this world look like “heaven on earth?”   Talk to your children about this. What kind of examples are we as parents?  

When a face of a different color passes you by on the street or at the grocery store, do you nod a smile or a hello?   Do we go out of our way to help a stranger? Our children need to see our acts of kindness; these images will make a lifelong impression. Teach them compassion for the other guy, even though he be different in some way. Teach them to combat teasing and bullying with friendship and respect.

Why wait? The time is now.  It’s never too late to start!

Paula M. Myers has been a member of the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County nearly  since its founding in 2001. She is also a member of the Baha’i Faith.

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