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While I ate a piece of bread for breakfast this morning, I thought about partnership. I always say a blessing of gratitude for the bread, but it’s not just gratitude for having something nourishing in my stomach. Bread is an embodiment of the partnership between humans and nature that enables us to survive and thrive. We didn’t invent the process of fermentation that transforms grain into something that can nourish us. We noticed it and learned to shape it. That partnership is also the key ingredient of human society. From barn-raising to COVID research, we depend on each other to live safely, comfortably and well. I feel scared that the current crisis of trust and respect will undermine the partnership that is necessary for us as a society to survive and thrive. I have relatives and treasured friends and members of my community that I’m afraid to converse with. I’m afraid that many of us no longer recognize each other as partners. I realize that, deep as our differences are, in some ways those differences are illusory, and we can’t let them divide us. We must find ways to understand and appreciate each other. Will you talk to me and let me listen?

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