Something Bob said about Ali reminded me of a story from the Hebrew Bible that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Here is what he said: "I love Alison… because she respects and loves me so much that even though we differ in our spirituality and faith beliefs, she loves me for who I am and doesn’t allow that to get in the way of what we share."
That reminded me of this story from Genesis: Abraham's eldest son, Ishmael, and Ishmael's mother, Hagar, wander through the desert. In the absence of water, they are dying of thirst, and have given up hope. Suddenly, just as all seems lost, an angel appears to Hagar, and says: "Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the boy, where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand... Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She... let the boy drink." (JPS Translation of Genesis 21/17-19)
What does this mean, and how does it relate to what Bob says? We should not deal with people from our vantage point, from where we are, from the standpoint of our personal view or judgmental standard of what should be. We must deal with each person, non-judgmentally, where he or she is. And that is what Bob is talking about, and that is how Ali and Bob consistently treat each other.
However, that is not where the lesson of the story of Ishmael or the lesson of the story of Ali and Bob ends. In the story Hagar is told to lift Ishmael up, and to hold him by the hand. It is important, whatever you may, to make sure you are lifting people up and holding them by the hand. This can take on different forms, for each of us is different in what we bring to the world.
Ali and Bob embody this in their lives. Bob spends his days, sometimes literally, always figuratively, holding children by the hand, as he helps them on their journeys. Ali creates amazing personalized pieces of art, rich with meaning, that lift people up.
So, let's learn from these two. Let us resolve to lift each other up, to hold our fellow person's hand on their journey. A special thing can happen when we commit to this. We find it is our hand that is being held too, and our spirit, it too is lifted up, higher than we could ever have hoped for, on our own.