By Lance Wright
Earlier today as I was driving down Rossmore Avenue on my way to Hollywood for a speaking engagement. I was, and always have been, amazed at the beautiful homes and well maintained landscapes. Everything looks so perfect. The lawn, the trees, nice cars in the driveways, the occasional jogger in their running clothes looking like they just ran home from the gym. It’s something right out of a movie. It’s so amazing, so impressive, that it almost doesn’t seem real…almost as unreal as the feelings I get driving south on Crenshaw or Vermont where poverty and gloom fill the air. It’s like night and day, and yet within both communities dwell people. In one the make-up looks better, much like good plastic surgery functions to change what one feels inside about themselves (not saying that’s the case all the time just to be clear) and in the other no amount of make-up will suffice…people just have to live with what is or so they believe. And the whole time I am thinking about this topic with you, I am curious as to what dwells within the people of both communities.
I am of the opinion that they are not that much different. Surely financial and social status play a part in how we define differences, but within the people that live in both communities lie the Divine. Yes, the Divine. In both we can also find fear, anger, resentment, judgment, as well as hope, love, mercy, and so much more. These parts of our humanity are not unalike and yet the disparity is so great.
Is there a place to bring the two together at a much deeper level, perhaps the level of the Divine. It would be easy for me to judge and resent those along Rossmore Ave, for I was raised in a community not unlike south Vermont or Crenshaw, or to think the same towards those who com from there because I am no longer there. A wise Rabbi, whose advise I cherish, taught and continues to teach me that when it comes to people my humanity is to see the humanity in others, to see the Divine within them helps me discover the divine within myself. I guess I will spend the rest of the day practicing seeing the Divine in you, in my neighbor, and possibly touch the divine within myself…what about you?