As we begin to welcome the New Year, I believe we are at a pinnacle of social responsibility. One of the most impressive things about what the younger generation talks about is not what “we” (i.e., the collective society as a whole) should do, it’s the “what I would like to do.” Thus, the personal becomes part of a larger collective movement.
I became aware of this youthful movement during the recent power outage in Vermont. Sipping hot chocolate and swapping stories near and far, I constantly heard, “This is what I will do. Why? Because I’m excited by it; because it’s wonderful and something that leans to the greater good.”
In truth, it’s an old concept. Philanthropy in and of itself is pretty old. But the love of mankind remains very powerful to the current generation. In fact, this form of love gives enormous hope. And I find this very very provocative, because while the youth themselves set sail in different directions, the direction as a whole is specific and unique to a problem. But the internal compass is comprised from the single source of love available to all. Saint Paul talked exquisitely of such in his “one church,” many “talents” theme.”
In ushering 2014, we have to think of looking in other directions than we have been looking. Paraphrasing the book “Breaking the Peace (Václav Havelin),” hope does not consist of the expectation that things will come out exactly right, but rather it’s the expectation that they will make sense regardless of the outcome. The world will not be saved by the Internet or our ability to communicate. Our world will be saved by the human spirit. And by the human spirit, I don’t mean anything divine. Rather it will be our individual ability to realize each of has to be something greater; to arise out of the ordinary and achieve something we never thought possible.
On an elemental level, most all have felt some level of spirituality. Some felt it at the work, while others quietly reading a book. I can feel it in the music surrounding me, at a hospital, in bedside prayer or when helping those in need. This form of spirituality elevates us beyond ourselves. To touch this side of ourselves, we must see ourselves and the world through the eyes of another, and of many others. We must be present in all things.
So in 2014, if we are to be the world’s healer, every disadvantaged person in this world – including the United States – must become our focus. Every disadvantaged nation, and perhaps our own nation, becomes priority.
The lesson is clear. The lesson is that the world, and the disadvantaged of the world, deserves our compassion. But beyond our compassion, and far greater than compassion, is our moral imagination and our identification with each individual who lives on this island earth, not to think of them as a huge forest, but as individuals.
In 2014, let each of us not only become committed, but have the charisma, the brilliance, the compassion of Christ, the love of Buddha, the beauty of a Muslim, the heart of all that allows us to succeed and enlist more of humanity in the cause for others. The love of humanity, the love of all, can bring a kind of love translated into action, and in some cases, a focal point of enlightened beyond personal self-interest.
Where there is love of humankind there is love of healing. And it’s found within the power of the indomitable human spirit.