Distinguished Everybodies

The Reverend Mr. Peace is a Congregational minister working in industry in Connecticut.

"What’s it all about, my life, my world?" I assume the question is as perplexing and inescapable to others as to me. And for what they are worth, here are two premises I find helpful in examining the questions of life.

1. For all practical purposes, we are living in an unfinished world, a world in process of be­ing completed and understood by man.

2. Each person is uniquely equipped to participate in this ongoing process of completion and understanding.

That each of us lives out his years in an incompletely under­stood world is all too obvious. We are still seeking answers to fill in the gaps in all areas of our knowl­edge of the world and of ourselves, and each answer we find poses new questions.

But the incompleteness of our knowledge appears, to our limited understanding, to be compounded by the added element that we are actually living in a world which is incomplete—one that is still be­ing "worked out."

To speak of an unfinished world may shock some. The fact of the matter is not subject to scientific proof or disproof, for it is of the nature of an expectant extension of the mind in an attempt to ade­quately comprehend the involve­ments of our life in this world. But, fact or faith, we humans are scarcely in a position to set limit­ing boundaries when accounting for the energies operating in this world.

Use any term you wish to de­note the basic energies operating in this world, the gradual expan­sion of our knowledge only makes plain that each advance produces more unknowns and unexplainables to be pursued. Principles which seemed to be unshakeable one day must be revised soon after in the light of new discoveries which suddenly become evident as parts of our world.

Truly, the concept of a "devel­oping world" may call for a slight re-alignment of our thinking, but even if it does it will serve as a more practical and dynamic basis for personal adjustment to the everyday experiences of our living.

It certainly enables us to slice through many of the tight limita­tions which have restricted our outlook upon the world. It opens up a better basis for understand­ing the many seemingly impossible experiences and questions which have been associated with the "once and for all" fixed structural conception of our world. For, to cite just one troublesome area, the difficult problems of understand­ing unmerited suffering and hard­ship may be found to be simply rooted in the imperfect, incom­pleteness of our world and its peo­ples at the present stage of the building process.

If, then, the world in which we live is still under construction, we who live in it are definitely parts of the ongoing process. Imperfect as we are, we are nonetheless in­tegral parts of the present stage of the whole. We are "in," "of," and "by" the completing process. The abilities and personal equipment which we have are ours to be used, used up to the limit of our in­dividual skills and situations.

As in any productive process, we may work for its success, "goof off," or, with a distorted sense of personal importance, impede and sabotage the process. Every one of us has a stake in the whole, and every individual counts, for only through individual initiative and action will some small part of the process be satisfactorily aided as, and if, it advances. We have the options of choice inherent in our freedom. Within the rides every person has the right to freely choose and freely pursue his goals. This dangerous harmony in di­versity is essential to the ongoing process.

Like the little boy delivering an address at a school exercise in the Philippines, who after greeting the honored guests, turned to the audience and greeted them, "Dis­tinguished Everybodies," we need to recognize that we are just that, "distinguished everybodies": ev­erybodies who are here to help inch our world and mankind along nearer to the next higher level of completion. 

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