Crossing the one lane bridge over War Eagle Creek the first morning I arrived early enough at work so that I could shoot some photos, I spied the famous Blue Heron of War Eagle. Whether it is the same one that is featured in the prints that are sold on second floor or other materials for the mill, I can’t say. However, the Heron I now see every morning is in the same area, doing the same thing, at the same pace. His goal is consistent, catching fish.
Driving along 303 in route to the mill, each morning I know that the cows in the pastures I pass will look up if I get out with my camera and take their photo. As curious of me as I am of them, sometimes they advance rather quickly up to a fence that oftentimes is just one string of electrical (would that stop a 600 pound bovine?) wire, and other times they stare a moment and then head away from me. Cows are very predictable in this behavior.
A few days ago I drove to work in a thick blanket of fog, at times barely able to see the road. Spiderwebs dripping with dew, clung to the bridge railings, tenacious in their ability to hang on despite the heavy water drops dragging them down and creating holes in parts of the design. The spiders building the webs can be relied upon to build anew every night, a total renovation if necessary. Reliable builders, they never stop their work until their short lives come to an end.
Humans don’t fall into the same consistency/predictability/reliability realm. The mix of emotions and walls built up to form barriers of perceived protection, make interaction with our fellow humans anything but a walk in the park. Speaking from personal experience, from a position of a person scarred from life and having my own emotions to deal with, I can attest that it is a constant struggle to maintain a consistent/predictable/reliable lifestyle.
I was visiting with a local photographer yesterday and our conversation covered several areas, from working as a photographer to the spiritual aspects of life. One of the things he said reminded me of just how consistent humans are in their ability to be offended. “We don’t use the J word much, as it can offend those that have a spiritual belief that doesn’t fall within the realm of [Christianity].” Being relatively new to my faith in Christ, I remember a time when I too could be offended if someone spoke to me about him. It wasn’t until I began to mature in my faith that I realized just how personal a person’s belief system is and how important it is to respect the rights of others in their faith. But does that mean we can’t even speak about our belief? That we have to hide it from those around us until we are assured they won’t be “offended” by our sharing?
America is touted as the the land of the free, and freedom of speech is held up like a holy grail. Yet, there are areas that we do not have freedom of speech, or other rights guaranteed by our constitution–every aspect of life is being eroded. Free speech, freedom of religion, the right to make our own choices as long as they do not harm others, and the right to live out lives that are as precious as the sparrow is to God, are slowly being killed off. We are myopic in our views, and see only a problem and not the connections that form around it. We make judgments of others based upon an opinion–our constant fiddling and fixing is creating a system that is becoming very predictable: a system that can not stand in its division.
Final word: stop being so sensitive, hear what a person says and realize that is their belief, it doesn’t mean you have to embrace it just because they speak of it. In turn, feel free to share what you believe. Allow the rights of all peoples and stop judging those around you. Begin to really hear and see those that form your community, home, work place, and recognize that pushing your views down another’s throat is not necessary in order to live together on this earth. Communication is a huge key in learning to respect the rights of others. And the result of respecting the rights and needs of others is very predictable, a more peaceful environment. IMO