On Being Certain, Certain People and Other People

Sometimes I just get a thought in my head and I can’t let go of it. This story is what I did with one of those thoughts . . .


Once upon a time in a place called Kenvilley the people were struggling to find their way to live in peace and justice with each other. In Kenvilley only Certain People were allowed to love each other and to make their homes together and build families. The Other People saw how these Certain People lived together, and they perceived that it was good. And so, they too wanted to be able to love whom they loved and to make their homes together and build families as well. These Other People had loved each other for a long time, and now they wanted to be able to live together and build families and to celebrate all that they had together.

These Other People went to the town leaders and made their case. But the town leaders said that it would be immoral for them to usurp the privilege of building families that by sacred tradition was granted only to the Certain People. The Other People were not deterred, they continued to work tirelessly side by side with all the peoples of the community, loving each other and becoming known as good citizens. One day, after many entreaties by the Other People, the Chief Leaders of the larger society proclaimed that that all of the peoples, the Certain People and the Other People,  who loved each other and who freely choose to do so could make their homes together and build families.

But the Record Maker of Families in Kenvilley refused to listen to the Chief Leaders. She said that she was certain that personal god forbid families among the others, and she would listen to no other.

Now, the founding citizens of Kenvilley and the larger society said that gods, goddesses and governance where all good things, and that they should be kept separate, so that all peoples would be free to choose and honor their own personal gods and goddesses, and there would be one impartial government for all of the peoples.

But the Record Maker of Families in Kenvilley said that her god told her she must be holy and moral, and to allow the Other People to make their homes together and build families would be immoral.

The Leaders and the Other People were angry and frustrated with Record Maker of Families. The Leaders put her in jail for a while, but she refused to change her mind because she was certain.  (And we all know that if you do not change your mind and your underwear pretty regularly, soon enough things begin to smell pretty badly!)

Some of the Other People tried to talk to the Record Maker of Families, but she would not listen to them, she said they were sinners, and she was certain.

The Other People got together to talk among themselves. They talked about what the registrar’s god had said about other things. They remembered pronouncements like, “you are forgiven for your sins. So is everyone else.” And they thought that even if the Record Maker of Families believed they were sinners, she should also recognize that she too was a sinner and they were all forgiven.  And the Other people wanted to remind the Record Maker of Families about the “Remember that love thy neighbor think?”  And they wanted to tell the Record Maker of Families that they were her neighbors too.

And they really thought they had her with this one, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Honor the laws of the land in which you live.” But then one of the Others remember that this whole problem with the registrar was because they got the Chief Leaders to change one of the laws of the land. Someone said, ‘but that law was unfair.’ Quietly someone else said, ‘but now she thinks the change is unfair.’

And they were quiet for a while thinking about this, wondering among themselves about the best way, the fairest way to decide what is fair for everyone.

Someone said, ‘love is the answer.’ And that sounded good. But someone else asked, ‘who gets to decide what love is?’

And someone else asked, ‘who gets to decide who gets to decide?’

And of course somebody asked, ‘who gets to decide who gets to decide who gets to decide?’

And they all scratched their heads (and other body parts), thought about it for a while, and then one quiet woman stood up and said, ‘we do, right here, right now. With our words, with our lives. We decide with every breath we take. Who we are, how we are. It all matters. Love is the answer. Our lives and our love will transform her hatred, her misunderstanding, her ignorance, one heartbeat at a time.’

Another of the Others asked her, ‘you mean love conquers hate? Like the Buddha said?”

She smiled and said, ‘well, the Buddha had it part right, and maybe it’s just a bad translation, but not conquers. No more violence. Love transforms hate. That’s what I mean. Like water transforms rock. We just gotta keep on loving.’

And since Kenvilley is where they used to grow a lot of tobacco, they all thought that the Record Maker of Families should put some sweet lovin in her pipe and smoke that a while.


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