Thursday, April 26, 2012
Perspective--Rejoicing in the Smallest of Victories
It's hard for any of us today to keep a healthy perspective. We are all about the drown in a sea of negativism. One has only to listen to the political candidates. If you don't vote for me well, the sky really will fall. Then there's the killing of that 17 year old black man by a self-appointed vigilante with a gun. Or maybe that soldier who murdered seventeen adults and children in Afghanistan. We hear about possible Nuclear weapons in North Korea or Iran. And then there is Israel, contemplating a preemptive strike against Iraq--before Iraq hits them. Meanwhile back at home immigrants are still scared about their status. We we worry about what will happen in the Supreme Court rulings. On both sides of my house are beautiful homes that have sat vacant for two years and never been lived in. Across the street is a large weed-filled couple of lots. Three homes were to be built there but the bubble hit and recovery is still a long time coming. No use footnoting our time any further. Everywhere we turn it's hard to see any silver lining.
But I keep trying to remember a story I heard not too long ago. A man was talking to his friend who spent all his time helping others. Sometimes it was Habitat, often working in a homeless shelter, occasionally writing letters to the local paper protesting injustice in our state. He never stops helping and trying. He's had, in his day a great many failures and disappointments but here and there he has made a difference in someone's life. This friend asked him, "With all the craziness going on and so many things so wrong--what keeps you going? How do you keep on doing these good deeds?" "How?" the friend said, " I keep doing it because I rejoice in the smallest of victories." Hmm. Seems like a pretty good prescription for a hard time.
Want to read a story about an ordinary citizen whose actions made an incredible difference? I found it last week on the "Lives" column in the Sunday New York Times. It seems that this 18 year old found herself pregnant. Sitting in the doctor's office she began talking to the woman next her who was a friend of her mother's."Where's your mother?" the friend asked. The girl told her when she became pregnant they kicked her out of the house and the family turned their back on her. She was all alone.
The woman asked the pregnant girl to have lunch with her at her house. She did and this was the beginning of a friendship that may have just saved this girl's life. The woman asked her when was her baby shower. The girl shook her head and said, "She wouldn't have one." And the woman said that every mother-to-be need a baby shower. So--weeks later this woman she hardly knew threw the biggest party you could imagine. I won't bore you with the rest of the story. Read it for yourself. I think it may just warm your heart.
Maybe none of us can save this crazy world. But we pass people every day that are hanging on by their fingernails. Sometimes a word, a deed, a reaching out makes all the difference. And perhaps for us late at night after the 11:00 news--we think back on some small victory that happened today and we smile and we rejoice.