When my grandmother was asked her opinion about something (mostly when I was trying to convince her to side with me in a disagreement with my sisters), she often said: “Every man’s spice-box seasons his own food.”
After all these years, I finally looked it up. The entire quote by African-American writer, Zora Neale Huston is:
“Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person. That is natural. There is no single face in nature because every eye that looks upon it, sees it from its own angle. So every man’s spice-box seasons his own food.”
As I’ve watched events unfolding in our world and read such differing opinions in the news and on social media, I’ve become more and more aware of how we each live in our own world—shaped by our own experiences, our own nature, our own interests, our own values. We all have deeply personal and often much-treasured perspectives. Of course, this is a good thing, but only if we don’t shut ourselves off from each other with our tenacious hold on “our” perspective as the only correct one.
Right now our world seems to be incredibly divided. I despair that we are forgetting our Oneness. In Religious Science we teach that we are all one human family and that we are unique, individual expressions of the Divine. In this Oneness, there is ample room for differing opinions, perspectives, and expressions. We are reminded that what we see very much depends on where we stand.
There’s an old story about a traveler standing on the side of a river, and he’s desperate to get across. He shouts at a man standing on the far bank, “Quick, tell me, how do I get to the other side of the river?” The man pauses and looks puzzled by the question. So the traveler yells again, “Please, please, can you tell me, how do I get to the other side of the river.” And the man answers, “Mister, you are on the other side of the river.”
We each see life from our own angle, and often we cannot see what is right in front of us. Our personal perspective can either close us down or open our hearts to embrace the wider family of humanity. Perhaps we could explore the question “If I am seasoning my own life, what is in my spice-box?” Does it contain the “spices” of curiosity, openness, a listening heart, and willingness to see another perspective? Or perhaps we unconsciously season our lives with the “spice” of stubbornness, close-mindedness, or loyalty to some entity or belief over Truth and Oneness.
It is so easy to forget that the way we see the world is very much shaped by our own perspective. The next time you feel yourself shutting down in disagreement with someone, I encourage you to open your mind and heart to consider a different idea, to look for the common threads between you, and gently move to that place of Oneness.
Perhaps, if seen from a new angle, we. . . and our world. . .can heal together.
Peace and Blessings!
Rev. Jackie Holland