In case anyone thinks I came by my thoughts in the last two posts easily or quickly, without prayer and discernment, anyone might like to know that I have struggled all my life with judgments, harsh ones, of other people, and of myself. The hardest thing about being consciously inclusive, I find, is figuring out where to place people or groups who I view as deliberately exclusive.
Today I went to Light Princess' school for the Culminating Event of her half-year expedition about Green Power. The students drew floor plans for green houses, and they designed wind turbines, and they learned about using local products. Her group of 8th graders contains a broad mixture of colors, native lands and home languages, and more than a few religious perspectives, too. But every one of them worked on a turbine, in groups of two or three, and all of these young people stood by their products and explained why they chose two blades or three or five. They also showed their wit in the designs, which included Jack Skellington and Winnie the Pooh and a sailing theme to match one of the outings they took to measure wind in the bay, with blades that looked like sails.
Stopping in the school office, I noticed a framed print with these words:
"Underneath We're All the Same"
He prayed – it wasn't my religion.
He ate – it wasn't what I ate.
He spoke – it wasn't my language.
He dressed – it wasn't what I wore.
He took my hand – it wasn't the color of mine.
But when he laughed – it was how I laughed,
and when he cried – it was how I cried.
~by Amy Maddox, 16
At Renowned Middle School, the teachers and the students live the struggle every day: to recognize themselves in faces that look different, in accents that sound different, in laughter and tears that are the same. Believe me, I sighed with relief to learn other 8th graders struggle with algebra, and late nights aren't happening only at my house. "More than 120 of (our) approximately 500 students speak 28 languages and come from 17 countries," the school website tells me.
In those 28 languages, how do they speak of God?
Does it really matter if the words are different?
Underneath we're all the same, shaped from the same material, invented by the same Force of Creation, valued by the same Source of Divine Love.