'To respect something is to look back at it a second time’ - R. Rohr
When we look at something a second time we are asking it to speak to us in a whole new way, perhaps to help us reconsider the value that it brings to our life? Respect says there is more to be revealed, more to be experienced in the interaction we have with all things, resulting in a deep regard for all that contributes to our maturation and well-being. The respect we give a thing defines the veneration that we have for the divine that resides in its innate essence. That recognition and appreciation is the glue that builds an ongoing relationship of mutual admiration.
When we look at our terrestrial existence we start to hear the groan of its deep need for homage, calling for a public display of environmental cordiality that starts to form a relational integrity that will in turn sustain the planet. The same is also true for our human relationships. ‘Learning to reverence all things is our road to redemption'
Many of us come from a culture of one dimensional respect that is built on a top down or hierarchical demand for submission and subservience. The oft quoted trope of ‘show your elders respect’ was not just a corralling of youthful impertinence, but a challenge to discover the beauty of a mutual relationship of endearment and learning. For some reason we turned it into a distorted relational pecking order, a 'do as your told or else' fear based system of control. The command to obey became a legal requirement rather than a pathway to fulfilment and fruitfulness.
Truth be told, I can only truely respect something that opens up to me and enables trust it to be the glue that holds everything in play. Respect needs trust like grace needs truth, a counter balance that helps us to see that the power of an individual idea or experience needs the companionship of a negotiator, if the power is to be regulated. To demand respect is not realistic unless there is a growing relationship of trust that undergirds the process.
Blind respect, especially in leaders or authority figures where law defines the relationship can result in a strange allegiance that can give us the allusion of so-called-order. When it comes to the Police we have been told to respect their authority, especially in the light of a possible penalty, which creates a very dysfunctional fear based relationship. It is behoving of such organisations to be a relational example of mutual respect that works to rebuild the heart of community through reciprocity. My ability to wield power comes at a cost if I don’t in turn respect those who I want to ultimately trust me.
We all need to look at each other again, find a renewed respect for the importance of human dignity, which ultimately rebuilds the broken trust that occurs around us everyday.
Perhaps it starts with some 'self respect' ...to quote the great poet MJ (Michael Jackson)
I’m starting with the man in the mirror I’m asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you wanna make the world a better place (If you wanna make the world a better place) Take a look at yourself, and then make a change