“Whatever you do……

September, 2009

“Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.”…Gandhi

Recent reminders of the evil that men do and the resurrections that sometimes follow have been appearing to me often these past few weeks. We watched “The Secret Life of Words” on Saturday evening which deals with some of the horrors perpetrated on women during the Bosnian wars. The woman portrayed in the movie seems to have had her humanity almost stripped from her but, thankfully, allows her remaining courage to reach out and achieve a kind of redemption.

I’m reading “Strength in What Remains”, a true story by Tracy Kidder about a young man who lived through the genocide that took place between the Hutu and Tutsi people in Burundi and Rwanda and who, through perseverance and the generosity of others, gets to the USA and becomes a doctor. He eventually goes back to Burundi and establishes a clinic…..another beautiful redemption story.

I was feeling down and angry when I started writing this. I was looking for a way out of those feelings knowing they were not productive and might just lead me toward a “what’s the use” attitude. Movies like “The Secret Life of Words” and “Adam”, another beautiful example of people overcoming tremendous odds and books like “Strength in What Remains” are necessary for me to stay afloat, heading in a right direction.

I have been incensed about the outsized power of major corporations and banks in our society. I believe that our government has ceded its responsibility to these inhuman entities. I say inhuman because they make decisions about people’s lives and never have to face those whose lives they interrupt and often destroy, with their decisions to foreclose on a mortgage or deny a surgery. When I was a youth we lived in a country which had an economy; now it seems we live in an economy which uses the laws of that country to its sole advantage.

These are difficult times, wars everywhere, bigotry reigns, nations trying to build nuclear bombs, religions fighting for supremacy, profits at any cost, unfair distribution of wealth, eye to eye communication dying and being replaced with texting and tweeting, etcetera, etcetera. It’s enough to put a cynic like me in perpetual rage, casting aspersions everywhere and accomplishing nothing. I’ve even begun to be angry at President Obama but thankfully I listened to his health insurance speech last night and my faith in him was rekindled. I’ve read Tracy Kidder and seen those movies and I love the many quotes of Gandhi that I try, albeit failingly, to live by. Today I’m going to do those seemingly insignificant things because they are important; important because they help me to feel hopeful and they do send ripples out in ever widening circles that may do some good. At least I know they’ll do more good than a diatribe.

Posted September 10, 2009

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