Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quoting Tiny Tim

No matter your belief who is God, if there is a God, by what name you refer to God, or if God is only a father figure, or perhaps a mother figure as well, most of us will recognize that if we break religious teachings down to their simplest forms, they usually have at least one belief in common:  that we are to treat others as we would like to be treated, and that the surest path to redemption is loving others, serving others and surrendering our own will so that we may do that.  It is incredibly difficult to think of others if we are constantly consumed with thinking of ourselves, however.

Some years ago, before the births of my two lovely nieces, Flying Pig suffered multiple miscarriages.  While we all were saddened, needless to say, our sadness did not hold a candle to the sense of loss both Flying Pig and her husband were feeling.  At that time, I was experiencing my own bout of depression.  Somehow, it came me to do something for Flying Pig.  An inner voice told me we would both feel better.  So, for the remainder of the afternoon, I created something to commemorate her lost babies.  And when I stopped thinking of me for a bit and instead thought only of Flying Pig for a few hours, I did feel better.  And my efforts at remembering her lost little ones meant something to her too.  She still has it.

This was a revelation to me-I literally tripped over the idea of helping others to help me.  Don't you think that God, or natural selection, or the Creator, somehow hard-wired us to feel good when we help others?  And that message, helping others and surrendering ourselves, is a common theme in nearly every major organized religion in the world.  So, forget the Sodom and Gomorrah stories, and any other story that just serves to incite hatred among us.  God did not hand out guidelines so that we could use them as weapons against each other, yet that is what we have done since the beginnings of organized religion.

Hindus, Buddhists, Protestants, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and Mormons all share a common belief in serving others.  All of those religions mention in one form or another, doing good deeds for others, that our choices dictate the states of our souls, that we should sublimate ourselves for the good of others.  At this time of year, when two of the major religions, Christianity and Judaism share religious holidays within a week of each other, perhaps now would be a lovely time to celebrate what we have in common rather than what differentiates us from each other.  I don't think God is going to ask for a religious identification card when we meet Him or Her, but I do think we will be asked to show how our lives mattered to someone besides ourselves.

So, as I listen to Christmas carols, and Adam Sandler's Chanukah song, and peruse "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, I am heartened to remember Tiny Tim who states simply and perfectly:

God Bless us, every one!