Our Common, Infinitely Unfinished Humanity

May 27, 2023

Quote of the Week

"There is only one river. There is only one sea. And it flows through you, and it flows through me. There is only one people. We are one and the same. We are all one spirit. We are all one name." -- Peter Yarrow

Dear Diary

You are greater than the Bible
And the Conference of the Birds
And the Upanishads
All put together "

You are more severe
Than the Scriptures
And Hammurabi's Code
More dangerous than
Luther's paper
Nailed to the Cathedral door

You are sweeter
Than the Song of Songs
Mightier by far
Than the Epic of Gilgamesh
And braver
Than the Sagas of Iceland.

I bow my head in gratitude
To the ones who give their lives
To keep the secret
The daily secret
Under lock and key

Dear Diary
I mean no disrespect
But you are more sublime
Than any Sacred Text

Sometimes just a list
Of my events
Is holier than the Bill of Rights
And more intense. 

-- Leonard Cohen

There are many seemingly big divides that we are told mark our existence; scriptures, temples, ethnicities and nationalities, inter alia. They feel so permanent, so taut, so done and 'finished' (as another modern stoic poet would put and also inspire the title of this newsletter). But banal everyday activities - such as making a diary entry as the poet reminds - bring out the breadth and ephemeral qualities of our human living. Joy, sorrow, angst, everyday tantrums, heartbreaks, even the ups and downs in parenting (considering children are wired to operate past divides). These moments are bare necessities, in a sense, of households across borders and divides. Notice also that no one diary entry defines the writer; it shape-shifts with the passage of time. So with this metaphor in the backdrop, we encourage you and your family to think of our unfinished humanity that we share in big and little ways.

On the idea of 'Bare Necessities', invite kids also to this delightful sing-along of the same name from the movie The Jungle Book from 1967. 

Image credit: here

Reading Corner

Title: Child of the Universe
By: Ray Jayawardhana (writer), Raul Colón (illustrator) Ages: 3 to 7

" Just like the sun gives shine to the moon, you light up the world beyond this room . . . You are grand and marvelous, strong and mysterious. The history of the world is in your fingertips.

A lyrical meditation on the preciousness of one child and the vastness of the universe, this gorgeously illustrated picture book shares the immensity of a parent's love along with the message that we are all connected to the broader cosmos in important and intimate ways. A perfect bedtime read-aloud, Child of the Universe is a book to cherish forever. The author is an astrophysicist who has been fascinated by the universe since he was a child. As a parent, he has developed a new appreciation for the deep connections between billions of years of cosmic evolution and this one tiny human." -- Charis Books Review

Be the Change

Enjoy the movie 'Abe' with your children or those around you. Discuss ways in which your family creates space for differences in your day to day life; be they the way you pray, cook food, or even your body type, academic interests, pincode, etc. Which universal commonalities do you inhabit?

More-joy-to-your-summer tip: Invite children to try making lemon popsicles like Abe does. Even lemonade will do. Maybe share the popsicles with those in your neighborhood or around your home.