we the apples…

We’ve had a bumper crop of apples this year. I’ve picked, gleaned, and shared them. Somehow they’ve seemed uniquely personified to me.

Forgive me for getting a little woo woo about my backyard bounty and all caught up in meaning & metaphor.

I couldn’t resist.

crop: the product or yield of something formed together

democracy: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights

selfish: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

authoritarian: of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people

When our individuality is overvalued, we can become selfish and lose something so magnificent about being human, connected, and sharing this planet together.

rot: 1. to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi; morally corrupt

experience: the process of doing and seeing things; having things happen to you

empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another

If our democracy is going to survive, we must develop the capacity to see everyone as unique, belonging, AND equal in every single way.

We the People Apples of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Constitution of the United States of America (1787)

LOVE & picking up sharp things on the road

Last Thursday morning I embarked on a trip to South Dakota to spend some time with my family because of some health challenges.  I hired a driver to get me the to the airport in plenty of time.  I hate to be late and I was afraid the bus ride and long TSA lines might’ve put unnecessary stress on my travels.

My driver, Phil and I had such a compassionate conversation about our struggles that after crying in the car together we needed a hug for closure at Boston Logan Airport.  I was so boosted by the support of this complete stranger.  It was the tonic I needed to step into my childhood home with open arms and very light baggage (in both the literal & figurative senses) and ready to be of service to my clan.

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By the time I landed in Chicago, where I was waiting to meet my 20-year-old son for the last leg of our journey, I had a very simple realization.

If I could connect with my driver so easily and we could be of some comfort to each other—why don’t I just try to LOVE the whole world?

Our culture sees so many US & THEM distinctions, these come from fear, hardwired messages we aren’t even conscious of—or believing in a perceived superiority over others. I’m often guilty myself.  I’m no saint.  I’m just trying this BIG LOVE concept on for size.

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So far, I have to say I think it’s a pretty cool way to view the world.  It’s exhausting to constantly be assessing our appropriate reactions and responses in every situation.  LOVE actually gives you more free time.  I’m a big fan of FREE TIME.  Aren’t you?

I walked through the airport feeling like I had cracked the code on an ancient secret that had been waiting for me.  What if I moved through the world not just being “polite” but offering LOVE to everyone on some level?  Now, this doesn’t mean LOVING THE WHOLE WORLD the way I love my family and friends, but it does mean broadening how I define LOVE.

This morning as I walked to the post office I found all of these sharp, potentially tire destroying objects on the road.  I thought about what a simple act it is to pick up sharp objects.  It wasn’t hard for me at all.  I’m always drawn to shiny objects on the road.

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I like thinking this really simple action might’ve spared some real heartache—a popped car or bike tire…an appointment missed, someone’s pay docked or an unplanned expense for the repair.  By removing the possibility of some  heartache, I guess that’s LOVE on some level, right?