Ubuntu is the South African concept of lifting others up, affirming their value, and being genuinely joyful that their lives are good. It means “humanity”—being aware that we are part of a bigger picture; knowing that we all suffer when others are oppressed. We are not isolated but, rather, joined in our humanness. It does not call us to diminish ourselves, but asks us to enrich others too. Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains, “we think of ourselves far too frequently as individuals separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.”
There’s an interdependency that most of us don’t usually acknowledge. We often move from one day to the next in a state of “unconscious consciousness”— we’re aware of what we’re doing right now (like reading this post), but there is so much more that’s been stored away or suppressed (like forgetting fundamental truths about who we really are).
One day, my granddaughter and I were sitting at the dining room table discussing her social studies class. Lauren told me about the topic for that day: populations, ecosystems and life forms, and how they interact with each other. I asked her to explain the correlation from the perspective of us humans (and how she would fit into this inter-connected circle of life), so she quickly drew this rudimentary diagram.
Lauren is in the middle of the inner circle.
Next comes the environment she lives in—other humans, animals and nature,
then the planet Earth,
then the Milky Way Galaxy,
and then God—The Source.
She explained that when
“The source goes down, everything goes down with it.
Source is necessary for everything.”
How often are we able to get out of our human way of thinking—worrying, acquiring, rushing—and get back to the core of our existence?
How often do we not even acknowledge anything in the circles outside of ourselves?
Too often, in my haste, and agenda-led schedule, I forget to get back to The Source. I forget to remember that if “the source goes down, everything goes down with it. Source is necessary for everything”—for every thing.
The gulf between our day-to-day lives and feelings of concern for others can be significant. We, too often, define our existence by “what I have”, “where I go” and “what I do” rather than by “how I live”. If we look beyond— seeing into the essence of ourselves— we can fill the great divide between surface living and fully living.
Memories become woven into a tapestry.
Experiences that shaped who you are get blurred
with the passing of time,
as more and more is written into the book of your life.
Reality and dreams merge—part of the same story.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself
to reconnect to the source.
In my area, the dormant trees are now starting to bloom. Their leaves will help them grow by providing air and food, converting the sunlight’s energy into sugars and starches. They will furnish shade in the sun and adorn trees that stand regally in the background of countless photographs. The leaves will fall again, when it’s time. The sharing of this bounty will add color to the autumn ground, enrich the soil, and provide cover for small creatures. And, the process will continue in a rhythm dictated by nature.
We’re like those leaves in the newness of spring, buoyed by the change of season. We bloom and protect those we love. We convert our energy into life-nourishing food. We provide shelter from the storms of life. In the process we grow and we get stronger, as we stand in the background of the pictures of life. And, when the time is right, we will lose our leaves one last time. The “leaving” is not the end—it is simply the process of life. The impact on the world remains, because we are inextricably connected always, in all ways. And, the process will continue in a rhythm dictated by God.
May this week be filled with joy. May it be filled with peace. May it be filled with Ubuntu. And, may it give you time to go back to “The Source” and connect in a way that is life-giving, so that you can grow in this new season—not just a season of the year, but a season of your life.
©2017 peace full home™/intentional living
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