We all like to think of ourselves as important, myself included. In reality, however, are any of us more important than the person (or frog) sitting next to us? I don't think we are. And if that's true, and everyone/everything is equally important, than doesn't the basic meaning of the word "important" get lost? That's my point exactly...and, I believe, is the point Mr. Whitman was trying to make in his stirring poem, "Song of Myself." Everything/everyone is important and serves a purpose, all the way from the single blade of grass and tiniest bug, to the great and infinite cosmos. Take me, for example. I eat bugs to survive. That's how I was designed. But even though I eat bugs (and I do enjoy eating them) that doesn't preclude me from seeing that those bugs are important and are serving their purpose. I am grateful for them. And I try to remember to give thanks for each one before snapping out my tongue and snatching them mid-flight.
No matter how big, or small we are, we are all here for a purpose. That's just the way it is. The faster we learn this, and truly embrace it, the kinder, gentler, more compassionate we become. We soon see that the little boy in deepest Africa, the rice farmer in China, and the techno-guru living next door are all one-and-the-same and are all equally important.
Today's a day just like any other. Or is it? It can be the same in so many small and mundane ways...yet it can become extraordinarily different if we open our eyes and simple look around us. The beauty and wonders of life are abound.
I challenge each of you, over the next couple of months, to think about everyone you come in contact with...just briefly...and try to see them as someone beautiful and important. Even the road-rage guy who may flip you off in traffic this afternoon. Maybe we can take this even one step farther by including everything, not just people; animals, flowers, birds, bugs... And when you sit down for meals, think about the food you're eating. Give thanks to the farmer who raised it, the soil that lovingly cradled the seed, and for the rain that quenched its thirst. And if you eat meat, thank the animal for its life. We truly are inter-dependent on one another.
It's easy to get caught up in the "me, myself, and I" school of thought. And that's why it's so important to take time each and every day to fully appreciate the universe, and to realize that we are no more important than that simple "leaf of grass" that Walt Whitman wrote about over 160 years ago.