That Place…

July 4, 2012

There is a place that exists, if only in my mind and heart. An intangible place, made palpable by the warmth of a kind embrace, found in the hospitality of a borrowed cup of sugar, and evoked by the recognition of “I” in “you”, and “you” in “I”.

I’ve found this place within pockets of cities within nations all over the world; humanity rules, beauty bounds, love wins, and acceptance outweighs intolerance. In this place, our similarities bring us together, hold us tight, keep us close, and our differences are celebrated, valued, and appreciated, not used to discriminate.

Citizens of this abstract place belong to no one race, class, religion, creed, political party, nation, or belief system, apart from the strong conviction that we are who we are because of each other, that we are in this together, even if we individually perceive or understand what “this” is in different ways.

Likewise, in contrasting places both physical and not, I’ve seen others who attempt to close the windows, shut the doors, and bar the gates to one-another, overcome by fear of “the other”, or possibly, and more realistically, the fear of oneself. In that place, fear holds the power, and selfishness presides. Fortunately, this opposing mindset only leads to isolation, and could never conquer the strength of its more heartening counterpart.

This place is the metaphysical community found in geographical communities. It’s the neighborly way found in neighbors. The humanity, extended or received, in human dwellings.

This place is the spirit of the African philosophy of Ubuntu, founded in the cradle of mankind, speaking to the most fundamental, essential place in our soul, no matter how much we have suppressed, ignored, or abused it. It is the most natural way of “being”, though we have set up our societies in ways that often make it seem unnatural.

But this place continues to breathe, live, sing, dance, and thrive. It is the heaven found within the hell on earth.

My heart has pitched a tent in this place, set up camp, even when my mind tells me that the culture around me is in direct opposition to the values and practices that hold this place together. But with intentional thoughts, words, and, more importantly, actions, this place cannot be overwhelmed by its enemy, but will rather overcome those threatening it with love, kindness, mercy, and consideration.

This place, even in its intangibleness, is my favorite place on earth, because I can live there where ever I find myself. Though, at times have I lost sight of it, briefly losing my way, my internal compass has never failed to bring me back, back to the place I hold so dear. And therefore, where ever I find myself, I am home.

And this…this is my postcard from this place, and I truly hope it finds you well.