Indivisible Sky
by Eric Alan
December 10, 2021 - 12:26pm

Our society looks as fractured as an old sidewalk, to me. The cracks and buckling beneath our feet have lately become severe, and we the people often reflect that. We mirror our conditions.


When stress fractures appear to run through everything, I’ve learned to do something simple to regain perspective on wholeness: I look up. Beyond pains and branches and buildings and doubts, there are no cracks in the sky.


It’s more than mere imagination, to envision looking down on this tiny sphere from the far edge of sky. It’s an accurate view. From there our cracks become invisible once more, in face of the truth of larger unity. We’re united within one tiny bubble of sky; the only living bubble that even our greatest telescopes can yet find. Against a backdrop of stars, our differences disappear.


As the winter holidays of our varied traditions arrive, I wish to celebrate one shared holiday: a holiday from the divisions between us. Within the conditions of winter is the common tradition of slowing down, going inward, taking time by the warm fire to gather and reflect. It isn’t a tradition of mere belief, but beauty born of ancient necessity, a communion that still warms us inwardly. It’s time to gather to sing, to tell stories, to remember that we are capable of loving each other across those barriers of artificial division. It’s time for a deep shared breath.


Look down from the far sky again to see how similar our goals and needs are. We’re all trying to find or feed our families. We ache for meaningful work, then find meaning within our work even when it first seems devoid of it. We instinctively seek to give and receive love in its infinitely malleable forms, in a personal way that suits our nature. We need both community and silence. We make experiments and mistakes, and do our best to learn and heal from them. Below all the layers of belief, technology, language, and geography that divide us, we’re still far more aligned in our ways and needs than we remember when looking at the cracks.


So look up again, as a way of looking within. Compassion and forgiveness are central within the traditions of most faiths, even faiths held privately and without a name. So is a reverence for all that is greater than we are, which contains us, nurtures us, has brought us into this wild, beautiful, and painful existence. From the distance of the edge of the sky, it’s easy to see that each of us is just trying to find our best way forward, to become and remain fully alive. Not only every person, but every creature of every species, shares that vital aim.


Dark is deep tonight here. Stars are clear between December storms. The storms themselves have washed that air clear. Wherever you are, look up. The same stars will greet you, the only difference being a few hours, as this sphere spins. They’re only hours. They pass too quickly. We must take this moment while we can. We’re only gathering here to tell a simple story, the story of the indivisible sky, sheltering the one precious place we share. We’re capable of mirroring and celebrating that glittering unity too.


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