“Graciousness Draping the World”

Admittedly, recent postings here have been challenging and intense. My consistent motivation remains – to stimulate awareness and action. My conviction is that no one of us can do everything, but we all must do something!  It’s as simple as “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I also believe in the cliché, “You can only do what you can do”…  as long as it is not a cop-out!

Favorite nephews and nieces come to mind… they are building careers, serving communities, committed to marriages, raising kids. Their generosity and dedication inspire me. In them I learn just how challenging it is in our culture to introduce the verb, “to share” into the vocabulary of young children. Courage! Keep it up! You can only do what you can do! But in doing so you are your children’s first and best teachers about loving God and loving others.   Good job!

Today my heart is sick over the 326 young girls kidnapped on April 15 in northern Nigeria. They were taken by armed terrorists from their boarding school because “western education is a sin.” Fifty girls have escaped. Reports indicate the others are being auctioned off for $12 each to become “wives” of militants.

But there is something known as “compassion fatigue”! We can only do what we can do. We can only care so much until we burn out.  But if you are not yet aware of this horror playing out in the lives of these young girls, I ask that you at least take a look at Nicholas Kristof’s compelling report [here].

Today is Sunday, a day for Sabbath rest. It’s a good day to remember the fullness of the love command – Love your neighbor as yourself! In that spirit I share something that has long been a favorite of mine. Take a rest. Enjoy your day! Show some well-deserved love for yourself. Take care of tomorrow, tomorrow… 

I think we who work for justice and come face to face regularly with its negation are at risk of losing that which animates all healthy beings: the capacity to respond to the graciousness draping the world in colors vivid and electric, the warmth of the sun, a lover’s touch. If we neglect to notice these, why attend to anything else?  

E.B. White said, “Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. That makes it hard to plan the day.” But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way, the savoring must come first. 

Shortly before he died, [the noted Nigerian environmentalist and human rights activist] Ken Saro-Wiwa wrote from prison to a friend: “I’m in good spirits. … There is no doubt that my idea will succeed in time, but I’ll have to bear the pain of the moment. … I’m mentally prepared for the worst but hopeful for the best. I think I have the moral victory.”  

He did, of course, but he also lost his life in its pursuit. Think of that and weep, but then take the hand of a child, beam over a rose and shout praises to the stars. And then begin again. Begin again. No better tribute could there be to all that is right and proud and free. 

— William F. Schulz, Former Executive Director, Amnesty Internatoinal

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