Prompt: If I Were God by Pat Schneider
Pat Schneider’s “If I Were God” is a sobering meditation on acceptance, mindfulness, enlightenment, and gratitude. I believe that I’ve read this work previously because it feels familiar—plus who can forget about a piece writing with such an audacious title. This work resonates with me because, I, too, are beginning to share Pat’s gratitude for our world and the people within it.
During a time of considerable divide within our nation and beyond gratitude may be the inertial force that brings closer. This most recent election cycle taught us that love of country and the greater good will not bridge the chasm between us. While slightly more than 74 million exercised their voice in support of a new direction, the spectrum of ideologies and agendas within that collective is vast. These voices ranged from enthusiasm for progress to a grudging return to a problematic status quo.
Problematic because the status quo encompasses so many who are hopeless and disempowered, forgotten and out of sight, and living in abundance in the midst of considerable scarcity. How does gratitude alleviate the suffering, pain, dispossession, and the growing chasm? Oprah Winfrey said,
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
This quote was the wallpaper on my iPad until my twin nephews Jaxson and Jordan nudged Auntie Oprah from her perch of prominence. And, yes, I know that you, Gayle King, Mary J. Blige, and Ava DuVernay don’t like being referred to as Auntie; however, each of you are iconic, and legendary woman so the mantle of Auntie is our way of paying tribute. It is a sign of respect, a bringing of your flowers to you. I hope that you will find gratitude in this heartfelt bouquet because you are worthy. To me, Auntie is not a label that infers elderly, infirmity, or loss of sexual appeal or vitality; rather, it is a badge of honor well-earned when you came through your respective trials and fires.
We must embrace our imperfections because they, too, are sources of immense power and pride if experienced through a humble eye. When staring across our cultural, ideological, and economic chasm, it may be enlightening to realize that faith, passion, ignorance, and indifference reside on both sides. Each of these characteristics are ubiquitous to a grateful and humble eye. Humility can jumpstart the healing and gratitude can be the white-hot jet fuel that sustains the healing. And, maybe, faith in our fellow person can bring about the scab to cover our gaping wound.
May it be so.