Taking Stock

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In accounting, we perform reconciliations between two representations of the same thing.  For instance, the cash on our books and the cash in our account as the bank reports it.  We expect to find differences, and our task is identify them, determine what action, if any, we need to take on our books, and occasionally tell the bank what they have missed.

Personally, I have found that the more awareness I gain, the greater is my need to reconcile with myself.  I continually identify discrepancies:  I want to simplify, but I like my stuff.  I want to respond with compassion, but I am often annoyed with other people’s actions. 

I am faced always with what I believe to be the fundamental paradox of my life:  everything is impermanent, changing, dying away. At the same time, I believe everything is sacred, part of God’s creation, from the seven-plus billion people on earth to the smallest insect on the miraculous leaf.  Buddha said “Attachment [both grasping and aversion] causes suffering.” For me, there is a great sadness in holding creation in love and knowing that death and destruction are there at every turn.

This paradox is nowhere more noticeable to me than in Jesus’ call to “Love they neighbor as thyself.” I have come to believe that much human suffering comes from people doing just that: projecting their own self-hatred onto others.  Even people who behave civilly may be covering up their lack of self-acceptance.  Perhaps the Gospel scribe missed part of the teaching.  Maybe Jesus said “Love thyself as thy neighbor and thy neighbor as thyself.”  Or as Ru Paul says at the end of every one of his episodes on LogoTV:  “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else?”

My reconciliation continues.  ~~~

Kate McClellan is a member of Palo Alto Friends Meeting (PYM), where she keeps track of many layers of detail, large and small, to help maintain right order in the meeting.