Ripples #1143: Humanity & Divinity
April 19, 2021
We are the stuff of humanity and divinity that keeps the pains bearable, the joys exuberant, and the hope alive.
-Greg Hermann, shared by Isaac in Sedona, AZ
We are human.
We are not perfect.
We are alive.
We try things.
We make mistakes.
We get hurt.
We rise again.
We try again.
We keep learning.
We keep growing.
And through it all, we remain grateful
for this precious opportunity called life.
-adapted slightly from unknown source
shared by Mary in Topeka, KS
It’s often tricky for me to share content that has even a whiff of spirituality. Many people engage with the Divine through organized religion, and since some religions have specific notions of who God is and how she works…well, something as small as a pronoun can generate strongly worded rebukes and even a few unsubscribes. It’s also true that religious folx who are part of faith traditions other than mainstream Christianity can understandably feel ignored or dismissed when their beliefs are ignored or misrepresented.
Even people who identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious” can sometimes react strongly when they conclude I’m sharing an idea that seems incongruent with their beliefs. And of course there are also a substantial number of atheists and agnostics who sometimes feel pressure to conform to frameworks and standards that don’t accurately reflect their values and perspectives. All this consternation can sometimes lead The Ripples Guy to curl up in a ball and mope.
The easy way to avoid all this messiness is to avoid the topic of spirituality entirely. Easy, but incomplete. Avoidance ends up not working for me because spirituality is a foundational part of the human experience, and to ignore divinity is to deny an essential part of our humanity. We humans are divinely connected to each other and to all living things and even just all the things. Many people and many religions use the notion of a God (or gods) to help our tiny human brains comprehend an impossibly complex concept. Others have a more secular approach and yet still grapple with the same big questions around morality (what’s good? what’s bad?) and purpose (why are we here?).
People experience divinity in so many different ways, and I suspect there are at least as many pathways to spiritual growth as there are human beings on our planet. I do believe that many faith traditions have helped us gain a deeper understanding of some aspects of the Divine, especially when we look at the many commonalities among the world’s larger religions. Personally, I’m not sure any group has nailed it perfectly, and I suspect we could each learn a little more about our own spirituality by openly, humbly, and curiously inquiring about the divine pathways others are traveling.
What am I absolutely sure of? Not much, actually! Well, I’m sure that each of us are flawed beings living in a big, hard, and at times scary world. I’m sure that all of us are divinely and deliciously connected to each other and to some larger organizing principle that is far beyond our complete understanding. And most days I’m also convinced that our human imperfections don’t disqualify our divine magnificence.
This week, do us all a favor and make a little extra space and grace for both, and do what you can to prevent your very human concept of spirituality from blinding you to the Divine in others.
P.S. If some of what I wrote here seems to question or challenge your firmly held beliefs, I invite you to pause long enough to take a few deep breaths, say a few prayers, and spend a few minutes reflecting. And then, if something still bothers you: consider accepting my sincere apologies for any offense, while forgiving me for my (many) human imperfections.