The Brothers in Our Midst

Hank Mattimore
September 3, 2016
Reproduced with Permission

" We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Poor humankind, we know so much about our world but we don't recognise our brothers and sisters when we see them.

They are right there in front of us but we are blind to their presence. We think the person of a different color or who holds different values or who dresses in different clothes is somehow "other." How sad!

How weird. to walk through our very short span of years seeing strangers where we could see brothers. They could be of so much help on our journey if we could but peel back the curtain that hides them from us and us from them.

Why is it that we separate our fellow human beings into the little boxes of countries or states or neighborhoods as though where we stand on this great blue planet divides us into different species? Does not the same red blood flow in our veins?

I'm reminded of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, asking if a Jew is any different from a Christian or any other human being. "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?"

What perversity has entered into the human strain that blinds us to our common ancestry and leads us to see differences that do not exist? For a fleeting moment, when we witness the birth of a baby or when little children play together our eyes are opened, only to close again, way too quickly.

The moment passes and we start building walls lest that kid from Iran or the homeless guy with his possessions in a shopping cart or the teenager with drooping pants, be mistaken for a brother or a sister. No, let's put some distance between us and them.

What nonsense! Do we not get that all the brothers and sisters we need are already in our midst. Stripped of all our masks and petty disguises we are one with them. We are them.

More than 50 years have passed since Martin Luther King reminded us that, despite all our technical progress," we have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers."