(painting is by Los Angeles artist Alexandra Grant)
Sometimes I wonder if our lack of understanding of one another is the main cause of heartbreak in the world. If our inability to see one another as people with stories and loved ones, with tragedies and triumphs. This morning I was reading about the creation of the tower of Babel and how the people wanted to "make a name for themselves." In my understanding, so often we end up a mess when we try to make a name for ourselves because we forget to notice the people around us, and loneliness can feel like a mental plague. The Old Testament teaches that as a result of the arrogance of his people, that he confused their languages, so that they would have to depend on him to understand one another in their difficulty and suffering. I can see how this, ideally, would make sense.
But then to flash forward thousands of years and the confusion rooted so deeply in the human experience. When I saw the movie Babel last year, my heart broke because it was such a poignant portrait of modern day confusion. The inability to communicate with others (on every kind of level) snowballed from minor misunderstandings and complications into violence and deep disconnection among humanity.
I just wish that we would desire to see humanity in the world; to be aware of the brokenness that sits behind every face. I wish that we would look outside of the name we are trying to make for ourselves and into the eyes of people. Is there a chance that could happen? It is a beautiful thing to imagine. I'm convinced we must look outside of ourselves. How do we begin as a people?