So when the shoe fits
the foot is forgotten,
when the belt fits,
the belly is forgotten,
when the heart is right,
“for” and “against” are forgotten.
~ Thomas Merton
Time and again I am reminded of ways that life so often brings us opportunities to witness balances. All around us we can see parts coming together to best fit. Things joining in place, left foot and then right. Dawn to dusk. Winter into Spring into Summer into Fall.
Thomas Merton’s words provide a welcome guide for these days. So easy. So possible. They make complete sense. And yet…how difficult it is for me to make my way through an entire day without drawing a lines in the sand, lines of separation. "For" and "against." "Us" verses "them." "If those folks are for it, then I'm a'gain it." I understand his words about the shoes and the belt, but it feels so different to get my head (and heart) around his words of: when the heart is right.
Right can mean more than one thing, of course. It can be morally good, justified. These days in our conversations it can be referring to those who vote for the Republican ticket. Right can also mean correct, accurate. As I read and re-read these words, I think Merton is speaking to the right that speaks to balance and generosity; to being grounded and being loving. Right means pushing past the divisive practices that only seem to make us more certain of ourselves and at the exact same time - more lonely. Alone, on our own righteous islands. Right here invites us to see something broader, richer, deeper than what we’ve been able to see before. Merton is inviting us to understand our hearts being right as a way of bringing us back to the center. Back to who we have been created to be.
Years ago I remember a conversation I had with a beloved professor, Fred Craddock about inclusion. His words have journeyed with me now more than twenty-five years and still serve as a beacon. He said something just right. Dr. Craddock said something like, “What’s all the fuss? It’s always been Jesus’ table. He didn’t tell us who to invite, he just told us to find more chairs.”