After writing yesterday’s post, I spent some time at the link offered to Brother Lawrence’s book. Although I already have familiarity with his story, I would imagine many folks would also recognize the depth of this man’s faith and humility in short order … as well as a strength of character and conviction that seems to have been rooted like an ancient oak.
After being interviewed the first time, he commented to the interviewer: “… if (his) purpose for the visit was to sincerely discuss how to serve God, (he) might come to him as often as (he) please without any fear of being troublesome. If this was not the case, then (he) ought visit him no more.” Say what you will, but I find this quite admirable. He was “straight up,” no need for guessing where he stood, no harboring secret thoughts or judgement, no opportunity for misgivings … adding to that, there was absolutely no indication “if this was not the case,” he would have held any animosity towards the interviewer. He simply spoke his truth … and let it be.
Above, I used the phrase “say what you will …” and I did so for one particular reason. Brother Lawrence was “a Christian,” plain and simple. And as well, “plain and simply,” there are many folks who are not … and as often is the case, “we” go deaf when we hear certain catch words or phrases out-of-keeping with what we believe. They serve as a warning to be aware … because “we already know what this fellow believes, and “how” he is” … through and through.
I’m writing all of this because, as I read further, some of what he shared didn’t resonate with me. I wouldn’t claim myself to be “right” and him “wrong,” but I just wasn’t quite where he was … but does that mean I walk away from everything else he has to share because I’m not in line with a point or so?
If I did, it would be my loss, of this I’m certain. In fact, as I sit here now, I believe it would have been an honor to sit with this man.
But you know “we” seem to do “that” quite often. We seem to set our focus on that which separates … and not on that which would bring us together … to Unity. And the separation widens further and further … until it seems a great chasm sprawls between us. In fact, it has been at work throughout time … and if you’re not convinced, consider the preponderance of denominations and wars as examples of how effective it can be. In fact … it’s a great tool … at times used by those who know precisely what it’s capable of doing.
Divide and conquer.
Indeed, perhaps differences can be so profound there may seem to be no path to reconciliation. Perhaps. But as well, perhaps they don’t need to be the rule, but an exception.
So it is with this I part; a challenge … first and foremost to myself, because I know well that I am fully capable toward this leaning …
… to focus on what I “share” in common with another, not upon that which separates one Brother from another.
… to remain aware that each of us is intended to be a singular, particular expression of a Grand Creator. … to empty myself more often than not … of all I think I know, that I may be filled each day with what Wisdom reveals to me. … and if indeed the thought of separation creeps to the fore, to dig a bit deeper to its core, to see whether it’s worth going to war over.
It is certainly not an easy task; another call to look more closely at one’s self … another call to be “the beginning” for the sake of others as well our Self.
“Unity” may indeed be outside our reach in this realm. I wonder sometimes. But, from one brother to another, I am sure it is absolutely what we should be striving for …
Peace to you ~