Sunday, October 10, 2004

Invisibly, do the right thing.

From onehouse who pulled it from Bruderhof's Daily Dig by Danusha Veronica Goska:

I go to a food bank every two weeks to get my food. I have no car. Every week, I get a ride home from other food bank patrons. These folks don't pause for a second to sigh, "Oh, problems are so big, I'm so powerless. Will it really help anything if I give you this ride?" They don't look around to make sure someone is watching. They just, invisibly, do the right thing.

Sometimes we convince ourselves that the "unnoticed" gestures of "insignificant" people mean nothing. It's not enough to recycle our soda cans; we must Stop Global Warming Now. Since we can't Stop Global Warming Now, we may as well not recycle our soda cans. It's not enough to be our best selves; we have to be Gandhi. And yet when we study the biographies of our heroes, we learn that they spent years doing tiny, decent things before history propelled them to center stage.

Moments, as if animate, use the prepared to tilt empires. Ironically, saints we worship today, heroes we admire, were often ridiculed, tortured, or ignored in their own lifetimes. St. John of the Cross gave the world the spiritual classic The Dark Night of the Soul. It was inspired by his own experience of being imprisoned by the members of his own religious order. Before Solidarity, Lech Walesa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped bring down communism, was a non-entity, a blue-collar worker in an oft-ridiculed Eastern European backwater. He was always active; one moment changed this man's otherwise small-time, invisible activism into the kind of wedge that can topple a giant.

No comments: