A student once asked anthropologist Margaret Mead what she considered to be the first sign that a culture had become civilized. You might rightly think that it would be something like a tool for sowing seed, or a fishhook, but Mead replied that it was a healed femur bone. A break in that mighty thigh bone would be a death sentence for most animals, so finding one that had been healed meant that there was enough community that the injured one would be carried to safety, fed, and cared for while the bone knit back together. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said, reported Ira Byock in his book, The Best Care Possible.
I was struck by that story when I read it recently especially as we face the pandemic, and work to keep connections in our congregation. What is it that makes us civilized? It is our capacity to help each other through difficulty. It is when we pull together to celebrate the gifts of our lives, or to mourn together. We are our most human when we find moments of quiet together, or when we gain insight from one another about what makes life precious. We keep learning how utterly interconnected we are across the street and across the globe. What we do can help the world, no less than our neighbors.
In the survey we sent out this week, we’ve discovered how many of you are ready to help each other get through this difficult time in our community. It’s who Tahoma UU Congregation is at its best. Let’s keep at it, friends. We are strong and capable, especially when we are pulling together toward a common goal.
Holding you all in love,