The satiated man and the hungry one do not see the same thing when they look upon a loaf of bread. – Rumi
Someone once told me that perception is reality. It took a little time for me to fully understand that piece of wisdom, but once I did, it has had a big influence on my relational skills.
Rumi, the well-known and much beloved Sufi poet, describes this by painting us a compelling picture.
Bread is bread, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
For most of us bread is just another commodity, another item to pick up at the store or check off a long grocery list. But to others bread is life or death, something to fantasize over, something that occupies every waking moment.
Those of us blessed with enough food are blessed to have numerous problems. Those that are hungry this morning have only one…bread.
Rumi is right. A loaf of bread is a loaf of bread, but it smells far better to some.
Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found.
I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. — Gandalf
I love fantasy, and Tolkien is one of my favorites. It’s passages like the one above that endear him to me. Fantasy as a genre has a greater power to convey truth than many realize. As Ursula LeGuin (another one of my favorites) so rightly points out, “Dragons aren’t real, but they’re true.” And the wise old Wizard, Gandalf, not only nails the truth in the passage above, he hammers it home with subtle power.
How do we defeat the evil so rampant in our world? How do we make a real difference in the lives of the millions forced to suffer from need and hunger? How do we change the world forever?
We heal our world through small everyday deeds of kindness and love. We choose to live in a way that is fair and just for all. We consciously adopt a lifestyle the empowers the powerless and gives voice to the voiceless. We intentionally stand and walk along side the poor and hungry rather than mindlessly buying into systems that have only greed and profit as their core values.
We keep the darkness at bay by joining together with other folks just like ourselves and practicing justice through the way we live. And ultimately, our small everyday acts of love and kindness will achieve a world where the light of justice will not only keep the dragons at bay, but defeat forever the darkness that spawns them.