Following the wrong god home

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star

William Stafford
from A Ritual to Read to Each Other
The Way It Is – New & Selected Poems, page 75

The English parliamentarian Jo Cox has been posthumously described in many quarters as a star. Amongst the attributes that made her a light in many lives, and in many parts of the world, her compassion shines like a lighthouse warning of treacherous passage.

Compassion – “a suffering with”, in whomsoever it is found, provides all humankind with a wake-up call.

In a world grown used to assessment by way of soundbites in lieu of personal encounter we’re perhaps too ready, too often, and too quickly, to judge another about whom we really know nothing at all.

We ought not to disregard the wise counsel of lighthouses, nor that of the well-informed and the bravely compassionate – lest “a pattern that others made may prevail in the world”.

No need to make a god of the extra-contextual judgment I might too hurriedly make about you, or your country of origin, or your passions, needs, loves, intentions, hopes, heart, dreams or aspirations. Better that I make the effort, always and everywhere, to “know the kind of person you are” – ever-ready to bless your own kindness in seeking really to “know the kind of person I am”.