The Center is not the middle!

Here is everywhere

It doesn’t look right! What’s wrong? The world looks different when we view it from a different center. It takes our eye and our brain just a moment to interpret what we are seeing. It’s not how we see the world in our mind’s eye. However, being a little off-balance might restore proper balance to a world we too often consider as one we possess and in which we are the center.

Listen to the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska tell a parable. Like all parables, blessed are they who listen and understand. For this piece, we might need to listen twice!

Wislawa Szymborska: Parable

Some fishermen pulled a bottle from the deep. It held a piece of paper,
with these words: “Somebody save me! I’m here. The ocean cast me on this desert island.
I am standing on the shore waiting for help. Hurry! I’m here!”

“There’s no date. I bet it’s already too late anyway.
It could have been floating for years,” the first fisherman said.

“And he doesn’t say where. It’s not even clear which ocean,” the second fisherman said.

“It’s not too late, or too far. The island Here is everywhere,” the third fisherman said.
They all felt awkward. No one spoke. That’s how it goes with universal truths.

The cry of “help” is spoken in every language, it is uttered on every continent. A cry, sometimes in silence, at other times in the loudest decibel, but still those of us who have ears, fail to hear. “Help” comes not just from way over there across oceans and borders, it often comes from right where we stand, sit, sleep, wake, or breathe. Remember says this parable teller – Here is everywhere. That’s how it goes with universal truths.

Holy God,
you have created us
sisters and brothers
to one another
on this one earth.
We have tried hard to place
our thumb print all over the world.
We have busied ourselves planting our flag,
claiming what we first see as something we
have always seen.
Forgive our short sightedness and our blindness.
Forgive our grabbing and our hoarding.
Forgive our center of self.
Forgive our deafness.
Restore our love for one another.
May we hear the cry for help
near and far.
May you O Lord
prompt and prod us
inspire and encourage us
to be our siblings’ keeper. Amen.

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