When Paris blew up and the death tolls started adding up my friend and I were observing the worlds reactions as well as our own. This many people die everyday in many places and yet the world reacts for this particular moment, for these particular people. Me included.

Ever ask yourself why?

Why are some lives worth more than others? Why are some moments more impactful than others?

Social media blew up with solidarity for Paris. What if you’d been in Beirut this week? Would you be able to stomach the keen awareness that you are somehow less than? Do some acts of terror mean more than others? Some people mean more than others?

How did we ever begin to value each other differently?

Our segregation isn’t confined to giant acts of horror. Is the man I walked by on the street today less deserving than any of you reading my words here? What about the Alcoholic who’s disease is gripping life out of him and yet he fights everyday for one more hour of sobriety? Is he stronger or weaker than you? Better or worse?

I’ve spent days now wondering about all this…. Watching myself judge and rank people without even realizing I’m doing it.

My best friend and fellow writer Mary Gustafson wrote an essay that sums it all up for me:

I think if the Buddha, Jesus, God and Allah were to come back to earth, they would spend most of their time saying the following:

“No, no, that’s not what I meant!
I never said that.
I didn’t mean it that way!
I didn’t write that.  
Well, yes, I might have said that, but it was like 3 thousand years ago!  
I don’t even know that preacher! 
Wait, why are they starving? 
You’re doing this in MY name?! 
You are STILL fighting. Wow. Just, wow.
I did NOT authorize this.
Don’t you dare blame me for war.
How do you know what I would do?
I said you could be a steward, a servant who takes care of this stuff, not the KING of the damn universe!
You are not in charge of anything but you. 
Uh, no, you’re not all that.  
Remember the death thing? That can come at any time? 
Right, makes you feel small, doesn’t it? 
No, I didn’t say that either. Of course I didn’t mean that.  
Give me a break. We gave you big brains. Stop repeating so much and THINK a little.
It’s not complicated. Just trust yourself.
Love someone. Clean something up. Stop ruining so many miracles (the ocean?), and feed somebody.
It is time to stop the starvation and war thing already.
Plus, these dying kids, they’re the best part of your planet! Right? I mean, them and I don’t know, an octopus or an elephant? What more do you need?  
Put ’em all first. 
Save the kids so they can hear an elephant trumpet and watch an octopus move. They see things better than you. 
Oh, and yes, you are all connected, even to them.”

I think Mary got it about right.

After these few days I’ve summarized my feelings with a few less words:

No Rank. No File. All one.