Monday, May 28, 2012

Ashes and Dust

A weekend in a rustic cabin is like heaven to me.  It calms me and makes me very introspective - which I tend to be anyway.  Last night I sat on the cabin porch listening to the rain and the stream below and imagined Waldon's Pond.
The idea of Waldon's Pond has always appealed to me.  I wonder as Thoreau did if I could "live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Could I last a year in some remote cabin and let the experience teach me?
What I heard in those moments are words I wish I could write to song - ashes to ashes and dust to dust - everything is connected in one way or another.  Each breath we take is shared with another and every other who ever was and ever will be.  There is no beginning and there is no end.  Even if we do nothing, we are part of everything.  Ashes to ashes.  Dust to dust.  The tree still grows because we once were.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

If not you, then who?

Every one of us has the opportunity to change lives for the better.  It may be quite simple.  A stranger is struggling with pumping gas or short a dollar at the checkout and you step in to help.  It may be small to you but it just changed their day.
These easy things are not so rare.  I love the stories at Christmas about people anonymously paying people's lay-aways off.  Everyone feels good on both sides of that equasion.
And then there are the bigger occasions that require some risk.  You witness someone being abusive and intervene.  You run into a burning building or brave the fire in a burning car to pull someone out.  We call those people heroes.  Not everyone can or will do that.  It requires selflessness and risk.  Those are momentary decisions and most of us hope that we would do the same thing if faced with that situation.  But many of us could not.
And then sometimes we are called to do something that will change many lives.  It will be misunderstood.  It will be attacked.  It will come with risk.  But it is far bigger than you.  And no matter how hard you try to ignore it, you will be reminded from the right - from the left - in front of your feet and before your eyes.  It will not go away. 
So - do you run into the burning building or look around hoping someone else will?  Why does it have to be you?  When the time comes, you know why.  If not you, then who?  Only fear stops you.