Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at revelizabeth@cccsl.org.

The Dictionary.com definition of the word transcend is to go beyond the range or limits of something. When someone is transcending, they rise above or go beyond, overpass; exceed; transcend the limits of thought; as kindness transcends courtesy. To transcend is to outdo or outshine in excellence, to elevate, etc.

A lot is going on in the world right now. As spiritual beings having a human experience, we are called to bring the light. We shine the light inward first to ourselves and then outward to the world. Sometimes we allow our light to be dimmed by the heaviness of the conditions and circumstances we see around us. When we feel the pain of others, it breaks our hearts. We are called to transcend the darkness and sorrow we feel at times such as these and step into the light.

There’s a great story about a farmer who had a donkey he loved very much. One day that donkey fell into a well. The farmer didn’t know what he could do to get the donkey out. Finally, he decided the donkey was old and had lived a good life, and he gave up any hope of saving him. So the farmer invited his neighbors to help shovel dirt into the well to cover it up and prevent any other tragedies. They began shoveling the dirt into the well, and the donkey realized what was happening. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey was able to step over the edge of the well and happily trot off into the sunset.

The moral of that story is that you may get dirt shoveled on you – to get out of the well of darkness you are stuck in, shake it off, and take a step up.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

I remember as a kid watching Mr. Rogers on television. He was a friendly, happy man adored by kids and parents alike. Do you remember the song, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” The lyrics went like this, “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?” I can see Mr. Rogers now, putting on a sweater about to head outside.

Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

We are bringers of the light. Perhaps we bring the light to ourselves this week by looking for the helpers. We can bring the light to others by inviting them to look for the helpers too.

If we are to transcend separation and division, we must go beyond the appearance of things, transcending circumstances and conditions, abiding in oneness. Shake it off, take a step up and look for the helpers.

And so it is.