Archive | January, 2015

Sharing The Grapes

13 Jan

grapes   Reza Aslan, educator and writer, recalls an old Sufi parable.  It goes like this:  Once four men were traveling together when they became very tired and very hungry.  They were from different countries and spoke very different languages.  In their hungry state, they tried to decide what to buy with the one coin they held in common.  The Persian wanted to spend the money on angur; the Turk, on uzum, the Arab on inab; and the Greek on some stafil.  Soon their wrangling turned to confusion and confusion to anger as each traveler tried to convince the others that his own solution was the best.  In the midst of their bickering, a stranger approached…a traveler, too, and a linguist by profession.  It took him only a moment to understand that they were all, in fact, asking for the same thing: grapes.

I believe one fundamental truth about life is that we all want basically the same thing.  Despite language, religion, culture, race, or gender our basic need is simple and similar.  Is it respect, love, acceptance, a sense of personal worth…?  Pick one, or name your own.  If only we could talk across and above our shouting and fear, we might find the more precious things we hold in common.   We might discover that we are more alike than we think.

The Golden Leaf

6 Jan

IMG_2123  More than 7,000 light years away, filling the darkness of deep space with bursts of light and life, are the Pillars of Creation.  They are nebulae, vast collections of gases and dust which birth new stars in interstellar space.  In the mid-1990s, the marvelous Hubble Telescope photographed the two pillars, and it was breathtaking to imagine that our known solar system could be captured in one tiny finger, one little whispy protrusion on the edge of these mammoth engines of life.  Now, astronomers say, Hubble has gone back for a second look, and the photographs are as stunning as before.  To sit with these amazing pictures is to imagine the power and grandeur of creation, incredible colors, textures, the elements that swirl through everything that is.

But I wonder if the Pillars of Creation, for all their majesty and mystery, reveal any more about life than a golden leaf lightly resting on a moss-covered sidewalk?  For in my simple way of thinking, the golden leaf is of the same essence as that which bursts in brilliance 7,000 light years away.  Everything is related, and everything reveals wonder.  The Pillars of Creation cause us to gasp…and so does the exquisite golden leaf.