Let’s talk about warmth and sincerity. Where they come from and how they bring us along to where they are going.
I believe warmth and sincerity come from a unified force. And they have an unstoppable momentum that brings us to its greater self-expansion. They bring us along, because they are inescapable.
We can’t escape warmth and sincerity.
Yes, I will admit, as soon as I walk out that door back there, all my surreal c onvictions here will appear contradicted. The holiday frenzies and dreadful circumstances will contradict my fancy inner thoughts.
But I’ve learned, whereas I can’t escape warmth and sincerity, I can escape their contradictions.
The first memorable contradiction I escaped, was that warmth and sincerity come from things or stuff.
When I was probably in the fourth grade. It was Christmas time and I was excited. The whole family was. Mom and Dad had built an addition onto our house and its size went from puny to not so puny.
Instead of us five kids sharing a bedroom, we now had a boy’s room and a girl’s room. The middle sister and I each had our own bed.
Near the Christmas tree, my sister and I unwrapped identical looking gifts. We unwrapped bedspreads.
Now, try to picture this: 2 bright, deep purple bedspreads with long shag textile.
I know. It’s hard to picture. I bet you never heard of such a thing, because I’ve never seen shag bedspreads on the market since 1970. These bedspreads were crazy. Shag this long. Longer than the 1970s shag carpet on our floors, but the exact same idea.
All we could think to say, was, “Thanks Mom and Dad.”
But I could see that stuff didn’t give, or take away, warmth and sincerity. I could feel a presence of warmth and sincerity. I grew up in a good family and was a happy child.
What’s more noteworthy is that about ten years later, that warmth and sincerity were given motion.
I’ll tell you how.
When in my twenties, I’d become a full-fledged holiday fan. I made lists. I went to different shopping malls. I compared and contrasted gift ideas. I cooked, I baked. I was busy.
But after a few years, I noticed that it was becoming more difficult to feel warm and sincere.
To remedy this, as is my habit, I prayed. I gave myself what I call, a mental treatment. I didn’t treat myself with disdain for falling prey to the stress that came with all the hustle and bustle.
I treated myself with warmth and sincerity.
Then I noticed something.
That hustle and bustle taught me about motion.
At the time, I’d gotten caught up in the momentum of commercialism, so to speak. The commercialism wasn’t the point, it was the movement that had my attention.
So, I experimented in my mind.
I detached the momentum from commercialism, threw out the commercialism, and attached the momentum to warmth and sincerity.
“You can’t do that,” I heard in my mind.
But I could. I could acknowledge warmth and sincerity in motion.
This new consciousness was interesting. It confirmed that I didn’t create warmth and sincerity. I didn’t turn them on in my brain. I didn’t run alongside and jump on board with warmth and sincerity. They were already moving and bringing me along.
After that, my holidays have been touched with more inclusive warmth and sincerity.
But what about those times when the momentum of contradictions is out of control? We can’t seem to stop the contradictions, let alone detach movement from them and attach the momentum to goodness?
This is where we connect dots between definite experiences of warmth and sincerity. We take it a step at a time. Every single step with warmth and sincerity.
I want to tell you about my cousin, Darry. He is an artist and lives further upstate.
Darry and his wife recently returned home after living in Israel for four years.
The country Israel is an ancient enclave for not only cultural and religious diversity, but also for conflict and harshness.
Even interfaith relationships are like fresh eggs in a basket, high in nutrients, yet fragile and easily broken.
Darry told me that Israel “Does feel like a different world in some ways. The Israelites are dealing with centuries of distrust, and generation after generation of retaliations.”
Darry is a Christian. When in Israel, he worked a few days at a local school, with a Jewish lady and an Arab woman.
I know, this sounds like a bad joke in the making, but it’s not. This group became friends, or as Darry said, “We were friendly toward one another. But we subconsciously played down the friendliness, and hoped nothing would ruin it.”
You see, the Jewish woman’s nephew had been killed in a hostility against Muslims. Trying to escape that which contradicts friendliness, the Jewish and Arab women came together in a conversation with the idea of having Darry draw a portrait of the nephew.
Due to language barriers, this conversation required translation.
The Arab woman spoke enough English to explain to Darry, that the two women had pooled together 400 shekels to pay him to draw the portrait.
Darry would never have taken money from the women for such a project, but in all sincerity, he explained that his style of art would not be appropriate for a portrait.
Just as human beings have differing lifestyles and religions, we also have differing styles of art.
But, styles aren’t the issue. They don’t influence warmth and sincerity. It’s the other way around.
Warmth and sincerity influence our styles and traditions. They influence our actions and communications, which it what happened in my cousin’s situation.
The Arab translated tactfully to the Jewish woman what Darry had said. Warmth and sincerity prevailed all around. But even better, a respect grew, between them.
They began eating lunch together, asking one another questions, getting to know one another and themselves better. Darry said it all reminded him of what he heard his mom say; there is no separation in divine Mind.
Divine Mind is another word for the unified force, or God.
I’ll read from my latest book, from science and religion to God, a briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. “Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”
Mary Baker Eddy wrote about this idea of the connectivity of goodness, between warmth, sincerity, and us, in her Science and Health, back in the 19th century.
I’ll read the sentence again.
“Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”
This idea guides me to look past the separable things, past the legends, past the divisible human minds and bodies, to the one divine Mind where warmth and sincerity are bringing us along.
There’s a Bible story that shows this in action. In the Book, Ruth.
The storyline starts with a Judahite family that emigrates from Bethlehem to Moab. Back then, the Judahites and Moabites, didn’t necessarily get along. But the Judahite parents raised their two sons and they grew up to marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
The story took a turn for the worse and all three men died. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy time for the women, but efforts were made to move with ongoing warmth and sincerity.
The mother, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem. Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth wanted to go with Naomi. Ruth told Naomi, I like your God.
So, Naomi and Ruth move back. Now in Bethlehem, Ruth is the foreigner, generally looked down upon. But they needed to eat so Ruth went to work in a wheat field. The land owner was Boaz and he was able to look past ethnicity, look past her losses, and see, Ruth manifest goodness. Boaz married Ruth and she became the great-grandmother of King David, an iconic figure in the history of Christianity.
Not everyone is as quick as Boaz, to accept the silent heart that unites us. But enough of us are and we can keep strong in the reality of warmth and sincerity in motion bringing us along, even when we don’t feel it right away, because there are definite intersections in life where the movement is confirmed.
A Pew Research Study, titled 5 facts about Christmas in America, discusses different data related to Christmas.
One fact recorded that: “Among Americans overall, about half (51%) say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while roughly a third (32%) say it is more of a cultural holiday to them personally.”
That’s 83% celebrating Christmas. Even though they may not agree why, they still unite at the level of a holiday. Most of us like a holiday.
But (and this is important), we don’t want to overlook the other 17%. They confirm that the holidays aren’t what keep warmth and sincerity alive.