Any single place and any single moment can open us to understanding and connection.
I’ve been learning a bit from Thomas Merton lately. Merton (1915-1968) was a Monastic Christian who lived in Kentucky. I love a particular both/and in his personal faith: He was a mystic, yet not at all removed from the world. He delved into some of the largest challenges and traumas that humanity has faced. He was a practical theologian and a humanitarian, grounded deeply in a sense of mystical communion with God and other people.
These two aspects of Merton’s faith really came together when he was simply standing at an intersection. He was standing on the corner of 4th and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali Blvd.) in Louisville, Kentucky. As he watched people walk by, he was suddenly overcome with a deep sense of connection. He said he was, “suddenly overcome with the realization that I loved all these people. . .” as they “walked around shining like the sun.”
It changed his whole life.
He probably wasn’t expecting that when he was out running some errands. But any place and any moment can introduce us to a revelation of understanding and connection. Any place and any moment.
When in Louisville a few years ago, I went to this corner. It’s really fitting because there’s still a great deal of foot traffic. There is a placard that commemorates this place and moment, and right behind it, is 4th Street Live — two city blocks typically blocked off for foot traffic with restaurants, and often, live music.
I snapped a photo of this place. I also stood there and remembered people I know as well. It was a meaningful experience.
And it was a good reminder.
can open us for
Any single one at all.