Take a step back.
Again, one more.
This is a good place. Look from here.
The world is so big.
There is so much of everything.
So many people,
so many animals,
so many beautiful places in nature.
Maybe one more step back.
They are so complicated.
So many motives, intentions, fears, avoidances.
And always, ghosts swirling around them,
voices from the past,
The chatter inside the head
as loud as the constant noise on the outside.
One more step back.
Walls, in various stages of construction and deconstruction.
We pop a brick out at eye level and see another face looking at us,
understanding passes between the two imago dei,
and the seed of a friendship begins to germinate.
As we navigate our adult lives,
the bricks start coming down.
Not all of them, of course.
Only Jesus walked around with no walls.
And some people spend more energy on this than others.
But one of the blessings of getting older
is that life helps you take those steps back,
letting you take in more breadth, more horizon,
more height and depth all at once.
You start to see yourself in perspective with all that is around you,
both your undeniable importance and your insignificance –
one beautiful tree
among many, many other beautiful trees,
making up one lovely forest
among many, many other lovely forests.
No one can know another person’s story,
not truly. Not fully.
You cannot be inside your own head and someone else’s.
People make mistakes,
they choose unwisely,
accidentally or on purpose,
and we hurt each other all the time.
I cannot know what damage I have left in my wake as I live my life,
and neither can you.
But we can take that step back.
That step that helps us see.
The distance that lets the painful, raging fire burn itself out
into a coal cool enough to touch.
You can hold it in your hand and the warmth reminds you what it once was
but it doesn’t hurt you any more.
Didn’t see it coming,
but time and intention have helped me step back, step again, and yet again,
until forgiveness has started flowing in from the sides
like when you are digging a hole for planting
and you get deep enough for the water to start seeping in –
forgiveness, clear as a mountain stream,
reflecting back to me my own face
and the beautiful sky around me.