By Kaitlyn Dunagan

Redemption is not an exclusive endeavor but the most inclusive party, where everyone’s invited.  It is not only for people but includes all of creation—birds, trees, rivers. All of it. This is not a redemption to be cleansed of our sins but of the unnecessary attachments we hold onto that make us heavier than we wish. In nature, seasons are evidence of this. In Autumn, the trees lose unnecessary leaves and die to their selves, only to be revived once again in the Spring. Changed, new, and filled with the essence of life. Only to repeat the process all over again.

It can start now and begins with you. Redemption may be for all of creation but humans are the only organisms capable of bringing it to fruition; of stopping our own self-destruction. Do not get me wrong, if humans were not present – nature would thrive. See, we need nature more than it needs us. We use it’s trees, it’s water, and it’s dirt and act like we are the ones who should be thanked for discovering it’s treasures. Nature would balance itself without us but we have a role to play in it now because of our existence. If we use our existence, our intellectual capability to intentionally create, let us create something new. Within ourselves and let it cover all things.

To hell with the idea of hierarchy being a proper way of living, letting the most adaptable thrive and all others fall behind. Let us walk with each other, hand and hand through the strife. Let us realize that there is more than one way for nature to function. Forget the competition for limited resources but encourage one another to share when resources are few. Let us see people as people and not just another story of slip-ups, consumer, or a way to advance our personal agendas.

Nature as it applies to the human population does not need to be a hierarchy—where other people must stay in their place—but to put emphasis on being a community. A complex and undefinable community where people can grow and exchange. Where people can flourish in spite of the lot they have been given. Nature teaches us we can be breathtaking despite our wounds, our exposed imperfections. Whispering, I am still worthy of love among my murky waters and broken tree limbs scattered about the dirt-filled floor. As are you. You are still worthy of love despite your mistakes.

Nature is ever-changing, capable of rising above obstacles and on to the next frontier. It is a community that is filled with duality and contradictions: love and hate, light and darkness, strength and weakness, fear and courage. Just like people. And it all works together, as people do. We may not be perfect but let us be the redeemers, of nature and of ourselves. Let us forgive ourselves and others who wrong us. Let us restore the Earth, for it restores us when we choose to partake in its beauty.

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