I left last week in a strange place. By Sunday I was feeling sad that so many people seem unable or unwilling find a way to change their minds and look within themselves for a way to compassion, respect and outright love for their neighbors regardless of politics, race, religion or other differences. I believe that forgiveness and redemption are possible, however remote they may seem at any given moment.
I also felt a strand of hope that good will prevail over evil, the classic battles of history and mankind, that justice will win out over injustice. In the words of MLK, Jr., ones that I used in a previous post, January 7,”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” From “Letters from a Birmingham Jail”. His other quote that resonates very well, along with his life, is that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Whether we like it or not, we are all in this together, and either we find ways to live in peace and harmony or we will continue to be at such odds with one another that there will be little progress forward. Sometimes it seems we are stuck and the music of disharmony keeps repeating and repeating. We cannot merely change the music, we must consider the origins of the music and learn more of why we are here, at another inflection point in our history.
At other times, in contrast to the hate, violence and disregard for human life, we see compelling examples of compassion, especially among our first responders and neighbors of good will. People helping others whether by providing personal care, food, shelter and housing or extending a hand of friendship and understanding. These actions, based on the knowledge of our common humanity, can make a positive difference to both those who give and those who receive. The message here is about healing, not only from pain and suffering, but healing our brokenness as a culture and a society that I believe, based on past experience, knows how to be and do better.
When one makes a choice to act on beliefs and values, it would help if we would hold those up against the yardstick of what is humane. When one chooses what appears to be heartless and self-destructive, we have seen the results, both historically as well as currently. The “I don’t care” attitude may be like that other virus that has spread disease and destruction to many of our brothers and sisters, and neighbors. The answers to who is my brother or sister or neighbor can be found in many places including scriptural references in the Judaeo-Christian literature.
My hope is that there are more people of good will who see this opportunity to speak up, step up and take actions that are positive, constructive and redemptive. “If not now, when? If not you, who?”
― Hillel the Elder