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Life

Difficult Business

In light of otherness, us-ness, and one-another-ness, I think the question becomes: What does this mean for how I live? How do I participate in this radical, one-anothering kind of life?

Peter Block wrote a wonderful book titled, The Answer to How Is Yes. Our biggest life questions don’t require mechanical, step-by-step answers (as if those could even be given), but rather they necessitate a spirit and posture that says, “Yes!”

What happens when you say yes to thinking differently about yourself, the other, and how you embody (physical, spiritual, political, relational) spaces together? That’s the exciting question that can only be answered as it is lived.

Wendell Berry writes about what I would call one-another-ness, saying:

I think the only antidote to that [i.e. othering, piracy, taking what you need from the other] is imagination. You have to develop your imagination to the point that permits sympathy to happen. You have to be able to imagine lives that are not yours or the lives of your loved ones or the lives of your neighbors. You have to have at least enough imagination to understand that if you want the benefits of compassion, you must be compassionate. If you want forgiveness you must be forgiving.

It’s a difficult business, being human.

“It’s a difficult business being human.” There is something powerfully relieving about this statement. Like it’s okay to air out my dirty laundry because doing what I do – the mere act of being human – is difficult. For me, for you, for everyone.

Living one-another-ness stops imagining that the other is my competition. Or my enemy. That they are different from me or have life perfectly figured out. That it’s my job to make them think, act, or look like me. Instead, it imagines that being human, carrying the burden of us-ness, is difficult business. Empowered with this information, I can fill the gap between my us-ness and your otherness with something radically different. With sharing. With giving stuff away. With protecting and defending whatever context and culture makes you the other. With risking my own self, safety, and stuff. With trusting that there really is enough for everyone’s us-ness when we all submit to living one-another-ness.

This is the story I am saying yes to. This is #thekindofperson I want to be.

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About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.

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  1. Pingback: The Issues of Identity. | Sam's Storybook - February 26, 2013

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