Wednesday, January 21, 2009

it certainly is audacious

When I first met my surgeon, I had only been living with a cancer diagnosis for a few days. I was terrified and knew nothing. I thought I would read my death sentence in his face immediately along with a sorrowful apology that he couldn't do much for me. When he walked in the room smiling, my fear literally disappeared out the door behind him. He joked with me about my name because of the Seinfeld reference. He didn't say anything about my disease at first, so it wasn't his plan that made me brave. It was his attitude. I knew that whatever the fight would be, I could do it with him.

President Obama has that effect when he speaks. When he gave his inaugural address, I felt completely swept up in all the hope so many people were putting in him and the determined way he's meeting it. I found myself wanting him to tell us what to do. I wanted him to say, "Be kind. Love each other. In these frightening times, find a way to help not just yourself but your neighbor. Because if we all do that, the climate will change, and the economy will follow." Idealistic much? Oh yea.

I told you the world just lost a wonderful man named Keith Lawson. He moved to my hometown not long before I was born in it, and soon founded the food pantry that is still going strong. I wrote about that food pantry in an article you can find on Radiant Magazine.  The idea in the article is completely awesome.  Unfortunately, I'm still not really practicing.  It's one thing to realize you're not a giver.  It's another to actually become one.  Keith really was one.  

I like to listen at a funeral or memorial service and take in all of the kind things said, wondering what people might say of me.  I leave funerals with more resolutions than at New Year's.  In this case, what I kept hearing was how much faith Keith had in people.  Everyone kept saying that:  "He believed in me."

One preacher said that what Keith really believed was God inside of us.  That's probably true, but it reminds me of a theory I heard in a movie - that we all began as one soul that then broke into two and then four, etc., so that we are all now tiny pieces of a whole.  I kind of believe that about God - that parts of him are in all of us, different aspects more pronounced in you than in me and vice versa.  So that we can never truly know Him on earth unless we let in a whole lot of different kinds of people.  That's kind of what it means to me to believe in people.  

And it's how I feel about America's economy crisis.  I know that we could really fail this test.  We could all turn to greed and fear and burrow into our various holes with our various stashes of money, and everything would fall apart.  But I believe in us more than that.  I think we'll learn how giving is the best way to receive and that even though the unstoppable greed of some may have gotten us in this mess, it will be the hard work and sacrifice of the rest of us that gets us out.  And we'll do that, because of the part of us in which good people believe.  You have to admit - even if I'm wrong, I'd rather weather the storm with hope than without.


Felicity said...

I love the ending of Romans 5:5, "And hope does not disappoint us."

May Vanderbilt said...

Very very awesome article. I used to find Angelina so bizarre and then I sort of accidentally fell in love with her for all the reasons you mention!

Matt Bowman said...

I love the picture of each of us carrying a piece of the common soul, the Sacred Mystery, within us. On a memorable Speaking of Faith radio program, Rachel Naomi Remen tells of a similar idea.

She tells of a story from the Kabbalah in which the wholeness or light of the world was broken and the fragments scattered and hidden in all events and people. Humanity is the response to this breaking; each of us is born able to find the hidden fragments in people and events, making them visible again, restoring a bit of the wholeness of the world. Sort of like "you are the light of the world"!

Hoping along with you,


Kelly H-Y said...

Well said!!! Love this post!

Anonymous said...

Can one earmark a post? Because I am with this one, well said Seren. I agree and share your hope, after all...."its a thing with feathers....." right?

Widney Woman said...

I like the thought that we may all be pieces of one another. I would like to think it would make us nicer to our fellow human to know that when they hurt, a part of us hurts too. And who, in their right mind, wants to self-inflict?