We mortal beings are such a breakable bunch. The only part of my being that I can imagine ever neared perfection is my imperfection. It galls me that I am so intolerant of what I view as intolerance in others, so upset by the seeming obviousness of opposing viewpoints’ being illogical and insupportable, and so easily brought to a boil by anyone else’s anger or violence. It disappoints me that I am so easily cowed into silence when I see what seems the most flagrant of wrongs being committed against the defenseless, and I’m horrified by my inability to articulate what I believe is my wonderfully reasonable understanding of the facts of a case so as to persuade a single person of their validity.
The sorrow and fear I feel about this only intensify when I remember my suspicion that most other people experience some of these same phenomena. My failings are not entirely limited to me. It’s no wonder the world is such a complicated place.
Yet wisdom, love, justice, hope, and peace do seem to prevail at times. I know that every person alive will never agree on when and how those moments occur. Deeply studied scientific experiments and conclusions don’t convince everybody. Political, philosophical, and religious arguments, discussions, and declarations don’t convince everybody. The deepest emotional commitment and conviction, expressed in gloriously poetic prose, cannot convince everybody. We will still be weak, messy mortals. We will still be intolerant, illogical, angry, stubborn, and inarticulate. We will fall into these traps and sinkholes at the most inconvenient times, and escape from them only temporarily.
Yet wisdom, love, justice, hope, and peace do seem to prevail at times. We are incredibly imperfect and fragile, yes, but we can be beautiful, too, when we rise above our self-centered view of perfection and seek wisdom, love, hope, peace, and justice that should belong and apply not to only our own selves and favored persons but to everyone. If I can’t stoop to lift up someone else from the depths, maybe it’s because I need to reach up from my own depths to raise him. Maybe wisdom, love, justice, hope, and peace can prevail. Maybe they can begin today.