A Band-Aid on the Battlefield
I’ve been trying to write something new, but now does not feel like the time for the recording of musings and shenanigans, which are very much woven into the fabric of this blog.
There are people hurting every which way we turn, so many from injustice and racism; others have been ruined by acts that serve to desecrate the term “social justice”, rather than exult it, by associating criminal activity with the very American right to assemble and protest; folks are grappling with the issue of police brutality, while the countless true-blue officers and their families - who have sacrificed so much to serve their communities - suffer in body, mind, and spirit as victims of misdirected rage. All of this is happening as we endure a pandemic and national quarantine, as well as - lest we forget - our more common, but no less devastating, sources of tragedy, pain, and suffering.
It is no wonder that so much of our country is clamoring for a compassionate, unifying leader to help us heal the wounds of today and yesterday and move us to a brighter tomorrow because truth be told, despite political perspectives and agendas of one brand or another, we need a sensible, caring, and trustworthy leader who wholeheartedly believes in uniting the states of America.
We are at a very serious moment in our story, which tomorrow will be history. We’re called upon now to decide on the plot twist. Which way will we go? Will we pull together and move forward, or will we tear each other apart? It’s all so important and all so serious that I am tempted to believe that only important and serious people can help to steer the ship. When I look at myself, I see the tiny, circular adhesive bandage that sits at the bottom of the Band-Aid box, while blood gushes from the gaping wounds of the world. That’s what I feel like in light of the seriousness of this moment. I’m a silly woman who writes silly stories so I am tempted to believe that nothing I do or say will make a difference in the world.
But that is not true.
It has been my long-held conviction that the differences between all people are gifts, and if anyone’s contribution to the whole is absent, we all suffer, which is demonstrable in small, everyday examples. If any piece of a jigsaw puzzle is missing, the picture remains incomplete. If a traffic light is missing the green signal, we never move forward. All things are intended to work together, serving a very high purpose, which is not to divide and conquer, but to strive for justice and peace, loving one another as children of the same God, and neighbors on the same planet. Our individual contributions to this purpose were highlighted in recent months when stockbrokers and lawyers - whose jobs are undoubtedly valuable - stepped back as the truck drivers and grocery store workers demonstrated the urgency of their work, which has long been overlooked in a society enamored with the rich, powerful, and highly educated.
I have worked with children of all ages for many years as an educator and a mother, a coach, and a mentor, and whenever I ask kids about their talents, a few will proudly boast - however truthfully - about their athletic prowess, their musical skill, their artistic abilities, or their academic achievements. Very few, if any, respond by telling me that they can make people laugh, they can help around the house, they can listen to others and comfort those who are down, they can show kindness to strangers, they can protect the vulnerable, they can make people feel good about themselves, or that they have any special attribute or inclination that is immeasurable or for which they cannot receive a gold star or blue ribbon. They do not value their own abilities as useful, much less as gifts, because they don’t see them that way, but how sad it would be to live in a world in which nobody shared such blessings.
I’m not a politician, a lawyer, a judge, a military general, a scientist, or the leader of a nation. In the grand scheme, not many people are those particular decision-makers. We all have our roles and special abilities, and sitting here feeling like a small, circular Band-Aid in a wounded world is not the way to change anyone’s day for the better. I’m a silly woman who tells silly stories, and by doing that, I can lift people, I can make some laugh and others cry, and through often-ridiculous nonsense, I tend to haphazardly expose common ground that we share in our lived experiences as members of the human race. I cannot personally put an end to all racism or any other evil that divides and demeans people, none of us can, but I can make someone’s day better by using my gifts, and that is important.
Where do we start when we feel hopeless? I think that we start within ourselves and our homes. Our families and friends, our jobs, and neighborhoods. We strive to serve the higher purpose by doing what we do best and using the gifts and abilities that are within us.
Make me a channel of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love,
Where there is injury, Your pardon Lord,
And where there's doubt, true faith in You.
Make me a channel of Your peace.
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy.
Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of Your peace
It is pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving to all men that we receive,
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
(Prayer of St. Francis)