That elusive kernel of truth

The most elusive kernel of truth is that in the other person’s point of view. It hides behind all those things that are horribly wrong, misshapen and downright evil that shout out to us demanding rejection in the strongest manner. It is to that kernel of truth that I beckon you; to that most elusive bond between humans; it is to that most unlikely seat of our shared soul I wish to pay homage.

As so often happens, political, religious and personal differences are all that seem to matter today, not only here in the U.S. but nearly everywhere. These can seem irreconcilable, urgent and clear cut to us with such force and visibility that we justify attacks upon each other both with words that batter and arms that shatter. So it is today one faction assaults another; husbands attack wives and the favor is repaid; and on these pages we are so convinced of our rectitude that we call for the removal of those in the sight of our eyes of truth, justice and all that is holy and pure.

I have just put down an amazing book, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner)and was moved to tears by the brutality suffered by the women of Afghanistan in recent times. Not only the Taliban treated them as animals but their own men did so on the personal level. It is sobering to see how cruel we can be to fellow humans. Of course any well written story succeeds because in telling the story it exposes a hidden piece of the human condition that we share.

So it was that I was led to wonder at the anger and outrage recently expressed at both President Bush and the Democratic Congress. What shred of truth must be ignored to allow this rage to live on? Can we be humble enough to pause in our tirades, set aside our grudges, and look for common ground?

I wonder. These days people no longer just make mistakes – they are evil conspirators out to rob us of all that is good and need to be removed, punished or dealt with by force and angry rhetoric. Could it be that the temperature of our response to them is as much a measure of something in ourselves as their misdeeds? Could it be that they are, in ways unimaginably bad to us, seeking a goal very much in line with our own?

I hold to the belief that even the darkest soul is animated by the same light that shines so brightly in ours. Sometimes it is exceedingly difficult to find that spark, but knowing it exists has led me to hone my skill at listening, observing and paying attention to others. So it is with that in mind that I respectfully demur to calls for impeachment, constitutional crisis, and verbal assaults on those who are so clearly wrong.

Inside this bubble of shared reality there is just barely enough space and time that we might actually work things out without killing more, destroying more, damaging more or living another day inside the searing acid of hate and prejudice. I struggle every day, every hour for this time and place.

There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us
Somewhere.

There's a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time spare,
Time to learn, time to care,
Some day!

Somewhere.
We'll find a new way of living,
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere . . .

There's a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we're halfway there.
Hold my hand and I'll take you there
Somehow,
Some day,
Somewhere!
Lyrics Leonard Bernstein