During our stand each week, busloads of tourists, many of them speaking languages of other lands, offload and make their way across the plaza, stopping every twenty or thirty feet to take pictures of one another against the backdrop of our gilded hall.
Always they head for the steps, try the doors (closed on weekends), and peer in the windows, then pose again for one another, as though at a magnificent shrine.
And so it is. Here decisions are made every day that affect not only San Franciscans, but people all over the world. Enormous sums of money funnel through these walls, electronically in this day and age. Many individuals grow wealthier and wealthier in this sometimes golden city. Others grow more poor, walking the streets dazed and dirty.
Each week, I stand before this edifice, praying for peace, breathing in the cool air, exhaling my lung-warmed breath.
I visualize a world where monied wealth for its own sake is an abomination, or so impossible the people don’t imagine it at all. I visualize a generous world, a world where people care more about honoring and respecting one another than proving they are right, than amassing wealth, than finding ways to feel they are superior.
And then I realize that such thoughts come from a place of judgment, and I remember to focus again on my breath, just the breath. In. Out. The one thing that unifies us all. Breathing in. Breathing out.
Text and image © L Kathryn Grace – All rights reserved