A Box

| February 8th, 2013

I feel, sometimes, that being religious is like claiming to live in a box so vast, you cannot know the sides, yet insisting the box is blue. And becoming enraged at, and fearful of, those who claim that the box is red. There are words on the side of the box, perfect words someone once read. Laws, and the names of all things within it. Someone once read the words, and told someone else, and he or she told others; on and on, I suppose some words being forgotten, some being mangled, some twisted. But, it’s by these imperfect words we must live. It is with these words that we must shield ourselves against the words of others. One day you’ll see the edge, or perhaps beyond it. But not today.

I don’t claim to be a philosopher or a poet. I am not one of faith or spirituality. However, I know that the religious impulse is a question we all must answer for ourselves. Some answer it with the god of their fathers. Some with the god of their love. Some seek comfort in one of the myriad and ancient forms of cosmic justice. Some in beliefs as fresh as the autumnal harvest. Some believe in nothing beyond the physical. Some believe in the mystery of not knowing. Some believe what their TVs or radios or computers shout at them each day. Some believe in many of these things, conflict as they may. Some believe in none of them.

All of us live together, not within some infinite box, but in a finite world, in a finite time. Here, now, together. All of us strive for greater truths, greater knowledge. All of us seek something beyond. That persuit is what is humanity.

And despite where we look for these answers. We must occasionally look to each other. We must understand, at least, that we are a few decisions and circumstances away from being another.

We have little time, and little sway on this world. We all come to it, and leave it. We all spend too much time working, or playing, or helping, or warring, or loving, or hating, or thinking, or dreaming. We all worry about that which we adore, and fear that which we do not know. We are human, flawed, cruel, exceptional, amazed.

I may not know you, but I know what you are. I know where you are. I know how you came to be, and that you will, one day, draw one last breath. That is the power of our shared humanity. That is the common understanding on which we can relate. Let’s not forget this gift, not ever.

And perhaps, together, we can be beyond a box.

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