A Redneck Thanksgiving: Lessons in Universal Love

“Always thought the wide lens was for porno.”

I cringed inside.  This Thanksgiving dinner was already turning out to be a winner.  With profound remarks like these spewing out from the blue collar comedian sitting in the chair opposite me, I was sure this evening was going to be a long one.

I grabbed my plate and started looking for ways to make the seconds pass faster.  The usual give and take of polite dish passing ensued and I noticed the eclectic nature of our group.  Among the more southernly-inclined group was the family, which ranged in shades of red from a countryside basset-hound breeder to a Wall street veteran.  Comprised of an Indian, Argentine, and two West Virginia natives, the non-familial guests were here on business, networking their way into the financial sector.  And then there was me.

Between the endless stream of sexual innuendoes and grotesque hunting stories sat me.  Sore as an uncovered thumb in the dead of winter, I was throwing out silent judgements left and right.  In the midst of my egotistical attempts to separate myself from others, I came across very timely and fitting words.

Delivered in the form of an Americanized fortune cookie, the note read: “One should look long and carefully at oneself before one considers judging others.”  These wise words from Moliere – a name at the time I was completely oblivious to – penetrated my ego.  I was sitting here high on my self-proclaimed throne, drunk off the kool aid of my self-righteousness and ignoring the human in every person around me.  I was so afraid of them, that I had constructed walls to keep me safe.

Instantly, I tore away the bricks from my barriers and bent back the proverbial rebar.  I shed the walls of my fear and sat vulnerable and defenseless.  I was the best thing I could have done.  In doing this, I became a part of the experience.  Laughter, smiles, and surprisingly deep conversations ensued.  Hints of relationships began to form as we enjoyed each other’s company.

Our differences did not part, but they added to the wholeness and depth of our experience.  These social distinctions brought stories and narratives that added to not only conversations, but to our relations and expression.  To find in someone, as different from you as night is from day, an identical thread of genuine goodness is one of the most profound experiences a human being can have.  It was a blessing this Thanksgiving that I was able to find such universal love in a place so unsuspecting.

Although I began this holiday evening as unconscious as I could have been, through an awesome chain of events I was able to pull away with a divine lesson in the barriers to unconditional love.  Finding the common thread in all of us is easier than we think.  Letting go of fear-based judgements brings forth an undeniable reality of human equality.  On this level of existence, there is no limit to the love shared.  We are truly all one.

Enjoy the leftovers.

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