You don’t have to be a practicing Christian to wish that our society was doing a better job living out Christ’s concern for children (“Let them come unto me . . .”) and for those who have no voice (“when you did it to the least of these . . . you did it to me”).
The beings among us whom we should be treating better have always been with us and always will be. But how are we to care for the well-being of all those children, all those homeless and mentally disturbed men and women standing at the exits of freeways–whose ranks seem to swell continuously? Wouldn’t we have to transform our world at its very roots in order to shut down the accelerating assembly line that is producing such human misery? What difference can one individual make in the lives of all those whose fates are routinely swept away in the course of business as usual?
We can periodically (in fact in a week or two from now) support increased funding for day-care, education, mental health services, and deplore, after the fact, the waging of wars whose inevitable harvest is homeless veterans with PTSD and missing limbs. But such services are always too-little, too-late, once war has been declared in some distant neighborhood.
Who does not grow weary of such societal break down and even wearier of standing by, a helpless bystander, as everything gets worse?
The world’s religions still speak to us. They remind us to care for our only home and the fellow beings who—like us—have nowhere else to go. But perhaps we have forgotten that we ourselves are those children who are missing in action.
Inside the weary adult we have become, there is still the innocent we once were. Can we reawaken the ability to see the world with fresh eyes and thereby rediscover that the world itself is being born afresh each moment? That probably can’t happen as long as we continue to march to the rhythm of whatever inertial forces are the loudest voices in our society.
We seem to be hypnotized by a vision that our world is gasping for its last breath. But at this moment a light rain is falling outside. Tree branches are swaying as I write under the warm light from a nearby lamp. The world feels new, and I hope I can carry that feeling inside me for a while.