Yesterday, through a series of coincidences I picked up a book that, per the note on the inside cover, was given to me by a friend in December of 2001 – My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Remen.  I keep few books, so the fact that I kept this one for nearly eighteen years suggests that it seemed worthy of keeping.  So I picked it up today and the wisdom poured out of it as I read it again, revisiting previously underlined passages and underlining new ones.

“Sometimes if you stay the course long enough, divergent paths reveal themselves to have the same destination.”  My Grandfather’s Blessings – Rachel Remen

This strikes me as a simple truth and a complex truth.  Often, as my wife and I ride/drive in a car headed to a known and often visited destination, one of us comments (or on better days, just thinks silently) something to the effect of “Oh, you’re going this way.”  The suggestion, of course, is likely “…but I would have gone a different route.”  Each time this occurs I am reminded that, as Remen notes, the “divergent paths reveal themselves to have the same destination.”  That is of course true in a much larger, more complex sense.  We are all on “divergent paths” at some level, as no two lives are lived the same.  It occurs to me that I spend a lot of time and effort trying to drag people over onto my path, or perhaps more subtly, expecting them to have the same journey though they are on a different path.  Still, in the end, if we stay the course long enough, we get to the same destination.

In Remen’s words:

“Here we are too often fooled by someone’s appearance, their age or illness or anger or meanness or just too busy to recognize that there is in everyone a place of goodness and integrity, no matter how deeply buried.  We are too hurried or distracted to stop and bear witness to it.  When we recognize the spark of God in others, we blow on it with our attention and strengthen it, no matter how deeply it has been buried or for how long.  When we bless someone, we touch the unborn goodness in them and wish it well.”

And all of that is just in the Introduction!

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