13 January 2012
Texting connects us in a way nothing else has. As I sat sweating in stalled bumper-to-bumper traffic the other day, texts were the only way I could understand what had happened up ahead.
Two people had died in a car crash. Although I had no idea who these people were, texts from home brought someone else's story into my world and I found myself reflecting on loss.
Being human means that we are filled with desire, with a longing to be connected with others and the world in which we live. But connecting has a down side and means that loss is something we experience every day.
Loss might be waving goodbye to your partner or the kids as everyone goes their separate ways. For others, it's the incremental loss of body function as age envelops us. Whatever the loss is, it has an impact; the pull of a heartstring, anger or just a resigned sigh. Other times, it's full blown grief as we come to terms with death.
Ancient religious traditions hold death as important, not necessarily because of beliefs about an afterlife but because learning to live with death and loss is vital for healthy human functioning. They advocate building spiritual practices that restore your balance or that help build bonds between one another.
Even though many Kiwis don't consider themselves to be religious, almost everyone in New Zealand has just celebrated Christmas. This is when we tell the story of the Divine Child, a vulnerable scrap of humanity born into the world utterly dependent on others. This child, like all of us, needed relationships to live.
Celebrating Christmas is a spiritual practice that encourages usto value vulnerability when we look into the eyes of our helpless baby and see ourselves reflected there.
If that means we text like crazy as a way of building a wonderful world then that's a great start to a sustaining spiritual practice.