As adults, sometimes what inspires us are things that are deep and reflective. Other times, it is something that brings us back to our childhood, something simple like a kid’s book. Recently, at our Pizza & Spirituality Chat Night, I read a Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears A Who, to those who gathered to eat my first attempt at homemade pizza. If you have not read this book, do so or some of what is in my heart this morning may not make complete sense. There are a couple of things I love about this story. One is that Horton has this amazing capacity to love all of humanity. Horton believes “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” Another thing I have come to love about Horton is that he is an elephant of great faith. Horton is committed to protecting the people of who-ville, even though he cannot see them. However, protecting them is not as easy as it seems. In doing so, he is ridiculed and forced into a cage by the other animals in the jungle for believing in something they are unable to see or hear.
Horton has a story to tell about the whos, but he faces some challenges in telling his story. Sometimes it is hard to talk with others about our spirituality and what we know to be true in our lives, if we have not yet figured out how to articulate it for ourselves. Some of us are like Horton, we know that we are part of something bigger than us. Some of us have a hard time putting our story into words so we can tell our story. Some of us don’t know how to tell the story of our spiritual journey.
Sometimes we may feel as if we are not quite ready, or worthy, or spiritual enough to help someone else. This is one of the reasons I find Horton inspiring. Horton just saved the who. He didn’t have time to think about whether or not he should do this. He just did it. Once he heard the voice of the Mayor of who-ville, his compassion for these people was so great he did his best to keep them safe.
Horton also recognized that not everyone hears in the same way. Horton needed one voice to be able to hear the who. However, he understood others needed the entire village in order to hear the same message. Some of us can read, hear or experience one thing in our lives and it sends us down a clear path of action. For others of us, the inspiration for propelling us on our journey comes from a diversity of sources, as if the entire city of Whoville was inspiring us with their yops.
Just because one is on their spiritual journey, does not mean that life will be without challenges. There may be days that the world treats you like Horton for living your faith. There might be days that people might want to cage you and lasso your stomach with ten miles of rope. However, when we respond to that still small voice of God’s, when we go where God directs us, when we meet people where they are, then perhaps like Horton we can prevent the least of thee from ending up in Beezle-Nut stew.
Horton never intended to have a conversation with the Mayor of whoville. However, once he heard how he was needed to make a difference in this world, he responded. He was being, as Ghandi would say, the change he wanted to see in the world. We are called to be like Horton and be the change we want to see in the world. Horton reminds us all of God’s creations are worthy of being treated with love, after all “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”
There are many more lessons to be learned from Horton and the who. We have lessons to learn from the Wickersham gang and a little shirker named Jo Jo too. For now, let it suffice that Horton saved the who. And we know that we all experience a God who from sun in the summer, from rain when its fallish, is going to love us, no matter how smallish.