Friday, March 11, 2011

Time for Helpfulness, not Hubris

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan remind us all that natures' vagaries show no favoritism. Right now thousands of workers and millions of dollars are making their way to beleaguered populations. We are not in control of the waves and winds, but we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by this moment.

We must pause for prayer, reflection, and generosity. It is also an opportunity to think deeply about what really matters in the human condition and set aside the ideological rants and political posturing.

Human beings are more than their material conditions. We are complex creatures with the potential for gross depravity and great dignity. We work and worship. We want a future for our posterity. We can be crassly materialistic and creatively magnanimous and philanthropic. Most of us spend most of our best hours working in order to eat, clothe and shelter ourselves and others - and we wake up the next day to do the same. Yet in the midst of our survival we find time for altruism and art, liturgies and loves.

When a family member or close friend dies, the extended clan and neighbors rally to help. Somehow the computer can wait while we mourn, bake bread or help clean a home.

Our global family has suffered loss - can we take a moment to pray and look for ways to help? Why don't we suspend political wrangling (even about climate change) for one day and focus on our friends in the Pacific? Maybe it will help recalibrate the rest of what we do.

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