I have been kicking around this old world for a long time and seen changes that, unfortunately, are not good. I remember the focus placed on discerning one’s “calling” or vocation. I was raised Catholic, which will explain that, I guess. I have always worked with the public. It has been a joy and an honor to serve people in many capacities. I don’t feel it’s been a vocation per se, but I have enjoyed life, even with all its challenges and tribulations. Serving the public felt like I was leading a life of meaning, in ways that have fed my spirituality and nourished my soul. It feels good to help others. If I make someone’s day a little bit easier in any way that is a wonderful thing and by and large I have found people to be good, decent, and absolutely wonderful.
But reading news of racial strife, of the systemic murder of people of color; of poor leadership in governments around the world (if you can even call it leadership) makes me shudder. There is so much pain, so much injustice, and this pandemic is acting like a huge magnifying glass forcing us to see that which we would prefer not to see. Ignorance may be bliss for the privileged and the powerful, but for the victims of poverty and want it is not bliss but a horrific and painful reality. And it makes me wonder if the idea of service, of the golden rule, has been plunged into the whirlpool of dark eddies that seem to have enveloped our world.
In these times of terrific upheaval, of economic uncertainty, of a future shrouded in fear of the unknown, it can be so easy to throw in the towel. It is tempting to turn one’s back and fall into the temptation of self preservation. But the lessons I learned in childhood, the experiences I have had, all have kept me rooted in the idea that service is an honor and helping one another is a blessing and a deep, deep joy. I hasten to add service does not equal bending one’s neck to be stepped upon, nor does it mean having to live life like some kind of joyless martyr. No, not at all! I will not be swayed by the evil behaviors of the few. I will not bend to fear or abuse of power. I will stand with the one who is indeed powerful by whatever name you may attach to a higher power. I will stand with those who have always been chained in poverty and injustice. And if I can do anything at all to help break those chains I will!