Saturday, September 16, 2006

Can't we?

We seem to have more heroes now than in the last few years – not just heroes in our own communities, but heroes in foreign countries, heroes in our nation. A novelist, who is also a dentist, in Egypt has developed a large following, and he is promoting peace and understanding. A Native Alaskan woman closes her shop during the busy tourist season to take someone to the doctor. The local churches collect enough food to feed the hungry from a food pantry and soup kitchen.

These sentences have a comforting feeling of continuance. Whatever the state of the world, medical care, good writing, and food will continue. But, I wonder if this sense of heroes and continuing life would be the same if the house next door to us had been bombed in a recent foray by people who thought they were different from us. What would my perception be if the KKK had burned a cross in my front yard or torched my church (which they probably wouldn’t do because most of them are members there)?

How secure would I feel about having so many windows to let in the sunshine if tanks rumbled along my road? The possessions I have would be immaterial in comparison with life. I would be concentrating on getting enough food to feed us, on purifying the water so we could drink, on locking doors and being afraid of visitors.

Being thankful for our safety and well-being is always in order, but sometimes we need to be reminded that others do not have the comfortable lives that we do. And, we can work towards their well-being one person at a time, one good deed at time, one letter written to those in power, one donation to feed the hungry. One by one, we can win. Or at least, I think we can. Can’t we?

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