Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Learning to see through "We-glasses"

Yesterday I said goodbye -- for the second time -- to Shaw Island. There's so much I could say about our time there; it's a truly magical place -- I even wrote (but never published) a book about it.  But what I see now, from the perspective of years, is that my daughters were not the only ones who grew up there.  I grew up there, too. I learned my own strength, and I learned to set aside a lot of preconceptions about the world and its people. 

Perhaps most importantly I learned a lot about faith and how it is lived out in practice -- and I learned a lesson that small communities, the good ones, at least, often teach: I learned to see through "We-glasses" instead of "I-glasses."

It seems to me that the most important lesson we can learn, the most important quality we must strive for, is to become more compassionate beings; to be able to look beyond our own needs -- to be first, to be right, to be comfortable, to be happy -- to appreciate the needs of others for the same; to appreciate the ways in which others strive for the same ends, and to find a way to work together for the common good.

I'm not there yet -- Lent, with its time of thoughtfulness and self-reflection, never fails to remind me that however far I've come I still have a ways to go.  But I will always be grateful to Shaw, and to the very special people of Shaw, for humbling me and opening my eyes to the path that lies before me.

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