2017: The Year of Interdependence

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The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.  — Thomas Merton

Citizens of the United States have long prided themselves on their independence, on the notion that anyone can succeed with a firm tug on the old “bootstraps” and a little bit of elbow grease. Unfortunately, that ideal that’s been held so dear and romanticized is not true. We are bit islands unto ourselves with equal opportunity and equal outcome.

Life can be hard. It’s often unfair. Some folks just can’t seem to get a break. Lots of people are left behind. One in five children in America is hungry. It’s tough to earn a living wage. In short, our independence has not served us well to knit a strong fiber of community, a viable safety net, so that all citizens can live decent, relatively secure lives with access to the basics of food, housing, work, and healthcare.

2016 was a particularly contentious year, with the presidential election bringing to light the fears, concerns, and anger of people of both major parties. Many are now hopeful that there will be change for the better. Many now fear that we will suffer greatly. We are a nation divided in our quest for independence and our vision of what it means to be “America.”

In response to last year’s division, I’m going to work this year to lift up examples and possibilities for interdependence in hope that we can all begin in some small ways to work together for the common good. Folks, we need one another. We need to listen. We need to share. We need to tell stories and listen to stories and write stories. We need to open our homes and hearts and minds in ways that move beyond  social media rants and fake news.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have much at all at this point except a desire to make a difference, to be as Gandhi once said “the difference I wish to see.” Will you join me in my quest? Will you commit to finding ways to be interdependent, to knit together our fabric of community in your neighborhoods, workplaces, houses of worship, and families?

I hope so. I think we can have some fun in the process. And I pray we can leave this world in just a little bit better condition–one conversation and one person, one day or hour at a time.

Photo: Nic McPhee (Creative Commons License) Thanks!

2 responses to “2017: The Year of Interdependence

  1. Sharon, good to see you post again. Your words hit home with me here on our street.We have lived in the same house over 50 years now, and sad to say no one on our street “neighbors” anymore. There is no intermingling or interdependence as you wrote of. They all live in their own little bubble. At one time we had families living north and south of us and across the street that we neighbored with and could rely on if need be. Not anymore, they may give a wave as they fly by in their travels but that is all you will ever see or hear from them. And sad to say they most likely do not even know my name nor care to know it. We have lost that personal touch we used to have with each other. Sad ways of the world anymore.

    • Hi, Judy! I’m so sorry your neighborhood has changed and become more isolated. Unfortunately that’s more the norm. We were walking a couple of streets away this weekend and met a retired neighbor who commented on similar changes where we live. You inspired my blog for today. Thank you! I hope and pray that someone in your neighborhood will take a step to start neighboring.

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