A friend of mine used to play a game of faith. She’d look at an object–a spoon, a book, an old tire by the side of the road–and ask “how does this testify of Jesus.” It sounded silly to me, but it helped her feel grateful and connected to Jesus.
It must have made an impression because I’ve played a version of this for years now. Instead of Jesus, though, I look for connections. Who made that spoon and where did they live? What did she get paid? Who built the machines she made it with? Who designed the machines? Who designed the spoon? Who mined and refined the metal? Who marketed that spoon, who shipped it to the store where I bought it? Do I remember the cashier who rang it up for me? What was she like? What are her hopes and dreams?
This game can go on and on, because it’s all connected. Well-connected, held tight in a thick web of association and interdependence and history. And I, sitting here thinking as I stir my coffee with this spoon, am part of that web. This web constrains my movements; sometimes it feels impossibly tight. But it also magnifies my tiny struggles and triumphs, ripples them across time and space.
Some people just sit and meditate and feel these connections, but I’m not a feeler. I’m a thinker. I have to concentrate my thoughts and trace those connections and see them with my conscious mind. It seems an unusual method, at least among pagans and pantheists, but it’s all I got.
It’s humbling and sometimes awe-inspiring, tracing this web, and probably a lot like what feelers do, but I end up at a slightly different place. Most feelers I know, when they say everything is connected, they mean everything traditionally seen as natural and good. They don’t mean microwaves and skyscrapers and old tires by the side of the road, but I do. These are also connected, human, a part of nature. They have to be dealt with, may have to be minimized or worked around, but they can’t be ignored or cut out without damaging that thick and beautiful web in which they’re bound.
It’s all connected. All of it. I just don’t know what it all means yet.