In life there are literal meanings and metaphorical meanings. The Great Divide is both literal and metaphorical. It is one of those undeniably physical images that run from the Bering Sea to the tip of South America with its highest peak being somewhat centrally located at the Summit of Grays Peak in Colorado. When I visited Aspen I went to see the great divide. It was a breathtaking view of the world. As I stood on its peak I suddenly realized that I was neither here nor there. I was standing on the middle ground.
The great divide has been used as a metaphor for something that is so significant that it is difficult to ignore or overcome. It also refers to the boundary between life and death, and pleasure and pain. It has been said there is a fine line that separates the dichotomy of existence. That can be said of pleasure and pain, but of life and death; well either you are alive or you are dead. The demarcation is quite clear.
The great divide means a significant point of division and although life and death is certainly a significant point of division other divisions can get a bit murky. One could argue that pleasure and pain often times come disguised as one or the other. A mosquito bites you and you feel the pain of the bite. You scratch the itch and you feel the pleasure of scratching. Same bite bringing you both pain and pleasure.
Willie Nelson in his song the Great Divide sang,” another love lost in the great divide.” Who hasn’t felt the rift and division of love’s rocky misperceptions, hurt and mistrust? It’s ironical that love which binds us together also separates us often creating the greatest divide of all. We love each other enough to join together, to bring a new life into the world and then turn on each other in a vile of hatred. There is certainly a great divide between love and hate.
It would be nice if we could all sit around a campfire holding hands and sing kumbaya, however life is not that simple. There will always be things to divide us such as curtains, doors, ideologies, bias, emotions walls and mistrust. But there are also many things that can remove the divisions and replace them with cohesiveness. Those are the great challenges that make the top of the great divide a vista that is breathtaking from any point of view.
Our points of view may differ and divide us. But differing points of view is what makes life so interesting. It also reminds us that wherever we rest along the great divide there are certain human conditions that deserve respect. Being kind and grateful is two that quickly come to mind. If we cannot respect each other’s point of view with kindness and be grateful that we have the right to debate and disagree then we have lost the purpose of the great divide. It is not to divide us, but to give us a chance to see both side of the view from the vista of life. Standing at the peak I look left and I look right and both views have merit and beauty. There is a fine line that divides them. Knowing this we can see that at the heart of all human kindness is the ability to respect each other’s majestic breathtaking views. What divides us can often times unify us. You just need to stand at the top of the great divide and take in both views and you will see that the division is not so great afterall!
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