On becoming human beings

“Be patient with me, God is not done with me yet,” reads a rustic barn-wood sign in a shop where towners look for country doodads.

We could imagine that law enforcement in Minnesota might also be claiming this as their mantra after the George Floyd murder by defiant former officer Chauvin. They might want to dangle the reminder of their humanness from the vehicle’s rear-view mirror. This week, twelve jurors took their charge to the scales of justice and what it means to be a human being in law enforcement gear and found Chauvin guilty of murder. Thus, the reign of terror against people of color may start to subside throughout our country. So, we may eventually become higher beings in the likeness of God of compassion and empathy, as a result.

Still in the simple words is the hope of becoming compassionate human beings. That “God is not done with me yet,” reminds us that becoming a human being is a process and is a method of what people in the 1700s called “enlightenment.” The Kahn Academy writes “The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was an intellectual and cultural movement in the eighteenth century that emphasized reason over superstition and science over blind faith. ... Rationalism is the idea that humans are capable of using their faculty of reason to gain knowledge.” Today, the term enlightened also means to be insightful, spiritual, and connected to humanity.

Examples of becoming a human being can be found in the medical field, especially those souls fighting the frontline of the COVID-19. The nurses and doctors and technicians take their oath to heart and carry compassion to the next level. The waiter at Nino’s who tends to the dining customers’ needs is also serving humanity and becoming an enlightened being. First responders from all avenues also carry compassion for others as they respond to emergencies like house fires, vehicle accidents and people in cardiac arrest. The kindness of souls who cook and transport food to others or plant hollyhocks in another’s yard are also growing as human beings as they spread mountains of kindness around their neighborhoods.

It is said in many religions that humans were made in God’s likeness. In the 1985 classic movie directed by Ron Howard called Cocoon, Howard gives us glimpses of what a higher state of being might look like as energy. Although the beings were from another world, a heaven of sorts, we experience the kindness of the characters and comradery as God-like as they nurture the eggs in the pools and nurture their friendships with the old folks.

Other movie classics also address the notion that becoming human means we can learn and do better include: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Call Me Mr. Tibbs, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner and Last Holiday.  And television programs also remind us we can see other sides of a penny and grow as humans: Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show, Julia, The Story of Us, The Twilight Zone, All in the Family, Everyone Likes Raymond, Law and Order SVU, Queen Sugar, Bull, and Young Sheldon. The main characters are often the anti-heroes who develop into compassionate beings through a series of foibles and missteps.

Nevertheless, persist in becoming.