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My wife and I recently spent a few days at a retreat center. It was in a rural area, but the cottage itself was comfortable, relatively modern, and more than enough for the two of us. It was on a hill, shaded by large trees, and overlooking a good-sized pond. The first night, the frogs were so loud we almost had to shout to be heard.

The pond, though, had a problem: it was full of algae and other growth. The green, slimy goop filled almost a third of the surface, and detracted quite a bit from the beauty of the scene.

I thought of that pond as I got ready for tonight's diary. I thought about what I had heard a long time ago about one of the causes of algae in ponds, and how it was related to our topic for tonight. So, here's a question for you to ponder:

Are you a pond, or a stream?
Join us under the orange cloud as we sit on the porch and think about it.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth, and healing is welcome.
There are, of course, many possible causes for algae growth in bodies of water, from too many nutrients in the water, to fertilizer runoff, to changes in various chemicals normally present. The one I want to focus on, though, is flushing rate -- the rate at which water moves through the pond. The faster the flushing rate, the more water is leaving the body of water through whatever exit it can find. A slow or stopped-up flushing rate makes it easier for the water to become clogged with algae.

Streams, on the other hand, do not usually have a problem with algae, because the water is moving out as fast as it is moving in.

What, then, is the point of my title? Simply this:

If we receive love and care, but do not pass it on to others, we become like that pond full of algae -- slowly filling up with bitterness and regret and misanthropy. On the other hand, if we are constantly looking for ways to show love and care to others, our "flow rate" keeps us healthy, happy, and able to continue passing on the love we receive.
That's one of the reasons I'm always willing to do Brothers and Sisters -- it is my opportunity, OUR opportunity to show love and care to each other. It is a way to keep our flow rate high and the algae of hate and dismissiveness at bay. Even though it is virtual, it is still COMMUNITY. And that is a very important, and very good, thing.

What is on your hearts tonight? What support and good thoughts do you need? What's happening that you need to share? The floor's open. Welcome!

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