On the Wings of a Dove

On a crisp, windless day before sunrise, I sped off on my routine 25-mile bike-ride loop along both sides of the Columbia River. I love the solitude and time for reflection as much as the exercise. But on this morning in a particularly darkened section of the ride, I suddenly spotted a dove in my narrow beam of light resting in the middle of the bike path. When he awakened with a startle, he flew skyward but was slow in gaining altitude. I know because he crashed into my face in mid-flight. (You might say it was a “beak-to-beak” collision.)

We were both okay. He flapped off to higher ground to tell his sweetheart about the astonishing thing that had happened, and I continued my pre-dawn ride.

As I rode, a thought occurred to me. I was reminded that a dove is a symbol of peace. I found myself wishing that peace would smack us all in the face–not in anger, but with love and just enough force to shake us into remembering that peace is always worth seeking when lost and always worth nurturing when found.

And then another thought rose up like a dove: All mainstream faiths have a version of the golden rule, but my favorite version comes from the Talmud. It’s attributed to the great first-century Jewish sage Hillel the Elder who responded to one who wanted to know the whole of the Torah while standing on one foot. The rabbi responded, “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Go and learn.”

Don’t you think it’s time to learn (or at least be reminded) that the golden rule is the pathway to peace?

Love, peace, and joy to you all.

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