I first heard the words from Sarah in a small northern Alaskan village.
The tiny, elderly, native woman spoke them slowly and carefully, all the while looking directly in my eyes. “How deeply you are connected to my soul, June.”
Deeply humbled by her words, I was thinking “this is not your common-ordinary-everyday conversation with a stranger.“ At that moment, I could feel the connectedness we shared and knew, even though we were cultures apart and our differences far outweighed our similarities, the ‘at-one-ness’ with each other was real. At that moment, our souls had connected.
One of the songs I learned in the tiny wooden building in that Alaskan bush long ago reinforced Sarah’s words: “How could anyone ever tell you that you’re anything less than beautiful? How could anyone ever tell you that you’re less than whole? How could anyone fail to notice that your loving is a miracle? How deeply you’re connected to my soul.” (Libby Roderick)
Though I was the stranger in her remote village, and our customs, language, traditions, life experiences were alien to one another, something indelibly linked us together.
And in that moment, I realized the possibility that two people who, on the surface have little in common with one another, could have a soul-connection.
It was then that the word ‘community’ took on a new meaning for me.
Yet when I watch and listen to the news, I hear the growing rhetoric expressed by politicians who don’t tell the truth, whose views and comments lead to an escalating almost-to-the-point-of-paralyzing fear. I see the growing intolerance and racism, misogyny and hatred, and can’t help but wonder and ask two questions:
“Why can we not recognize the soul-connections around us?
“Why can we not be community?”
I have no answers
only more questions …
“When will it be time for those who speak or think ill of another
– those who wound others with their words or thoughts
– those who teach people to hate and fear
– those who tear-down rather than build-up
to recognize that we are all connected
we are all part of the same community
…the human community?”
© June Maffin
Native Alaskan woman photo – public domain: