We’re All in This Together

A late night Facebook message had me in a surprising place – sitting in a pew in church at 9:00am on Sunday morning. Not just any church, but an LDS church. The one that my neighborhood community attends. I’d been in the building before to lead yoga classes and even to attend Relief Society activities but never for Sacrament Meeting.

I was there because my friend Annette asked me to be. To paraphrase her message “I’m giving a talk and I’m terrified. It would mean a lot to me if you were there”. So I re-tooled my Sunday morning plans, got up at 7:30 to shower and get ready and was there in gracious pleasure that my new friend had asked me to come. I got to see all of my neighbors and they were clearly delighted to see me. I did have to laugh when one neighbor looked right at me and then did a double-take. Wait, is that Keely?

Sitting and observing my neighbors at church was an interesting experience. Young boys trying to act grown up while serving the sacrament. Mothers frustrated with a child who simply will. Not. Sit. Still. People who looked incredibly attentive and others who looked lost in their own thoughts that could have been anything.  Annette’s talk was about “What membership in the church means to me”. It was a wonderful talk and I was so present to the love she has for her community and her faith.

My friend’s talk got me thinking about what membership means to me. Not membership in the LDS church, of course. I have never been a member and for a variety of reasons, I do not see that in my future. I am talking about a deeper membership. Something to which we all belong and probably don’t give it much thought at all – the membership of human being.

I remember the day I chose to become a human being. That’s a weird thing to say because obviously I’ve been a human being for my entire life. But when we enter humanity, we’re not aware that we’ve done so. Young children simply are. They accept life and all of its experiences, free from value-judgments or expectations. Life is just life. At some point that all changes. We unconsciously finish the sentence “life is…..” and that’s what we end up stuck with.

The day I chose my membership in human being was the day that I actually, consciously, willingly, and freely chose that I am a human being, imbued with life and able to decide for myself what life is about. At that moment, life opened up for me and I had the freedom and power to make it any way I wanted. The day I chose my membership in human being was the day other people became precious beings who belonged to me and I to them. Annette spoke of the joy in being of service to others and in this, she and I are in complete agreement.

Life is a miracle. An experience that is granted to some of us for just a few moments and for others more than a hundred years. It’s a miracle nonetheless. What really counts is what we do with it. I titled this piece “We’re All in This Together” because that is what was so real and clear to me sitting in church this morning. In many ways *I* am not in *THIS* with most of my neighbors. I’m not a member of the LDS church. I don’t belong. I’m an outsider. But I don’t feel that way at all. Strip away the dogma and theology and Annette and I are exactly the same. One miracle with two manifestations: her and me. Standing there talking to her after Sacrament Meeting I felt completely connected. Nothing between us but our love for each other and our shared enthusiasm for being a human being, being a member, belonging. When another joined us they, too, became part of that wholeness, we were three and then four, and then a different three and then two again as people came and went.

Despite my professed atheism, I feel there is much wisdom in the writings that the world’s faithful consider holy and sacred. All are a reflection of the human being’s strive to understand what it means to be a human being. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is life? In Matthew 18:20 Jesus is quoted as saying “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst”. We’re all in this together.

We are in this together when my neighbors show up with food after my surgery. We are in this together when I teach yoga at 6:00am every Monday for over a year. We are in this together when a neighbor I’ve never met loans us a truck to fetch trees. We are in this together when my husband fixes said truck before he returns it. We are in this together when we have a neighborhood walk-about and laugh over zucchini brownies and lemonade. We are in this together when my daughter freely and safely runs the neighborhood in pursuit of her playmates. We in this together when we love, and breath and sleep; when we feel and cry and love; when we include; when we encompass; when we serve; when we are human.

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