maybe we do one, just one, bold (but little) thing…
and by bold i mean one something, anything, in the name of bending that stubborn arc of justice. by bold i mean do one certain something today — maybe even within the next hour — that you otherwise wouldn’t have mustered the will or energy or courage to do.
feeling the full weight of what we’re up against in this world that is not letting up in this long hot summer, so many mornings feeling knocked back, feeling impotent, frozen in the face of injustice, in the wake of sirens and spilling blood and streets chaotic, i turn — as i so often do — to the words of dorothy day, who in turn had leaned into the holy wisdom of therese of lisieux, the little saint who preached a spirituality of “the little way,” to mine her everlasting, every day truth:
From Therese, Dorothy learned that any act of love might contribute to the balance of love in the world, any suffering endured might ease the burden of others….We could only make use of the little things we possessed — the little faith, the little strength, the little courage. These were the loaves and fishes. We could only offer what we had, and pray that God would make the increase. It was all a matter of faith.Dorothy Day: Selected Writings, Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Ellsberg
it’s a place, and a way to begin, for us little people, the ones of us who know full well the real battlefield that calls us every day is the one not too far from our front door, the quotidian one, the one whose players we might know well or not at all. the strangers within our reach. the ones who might be taken wholly by surprise by a sudden gust of kindness, out-of-nowhere kindness. the ones who might find courage a little bit contagious, who might pick up the pieces and pass it on.
once upon a time, stoked by pictures of starving children from biafra, fueled by the stories in time magazine i’d take to my room to read when no one was watching, i used to dream i’d cure world hunger. i imagined i could lope the globe, fill bellies, spoon unicef gruel into mouths open and hungry, like little birds.
it hurts plenty to shed those dreams, to watch them wither away, to realize you were pie in the almighty sky, and some crazy fool besides. what gets tough, gets real, is to station yourself squarely in the middle of your humdrum life, to look out across the landscape, and seek the moments where you might infuse your own cockeyed brand of dorothy day’s little kindness, little strength, little courage.
this bedraggled world needs every bold (but little) drop.
where will you begin?
Today, I wrote my first five letters for Vote Forward, an organization hoping to increase voter turnout by sending letters to unlikely-to-vote citizens. My appeals may be unpersuasive, but at least I have tried. Just like voting: I raise my voice and hope someone hears. The hope is as important as the voting.
Oh, wow, can you post a link??? I always know you dare to be bold! You live that gospel. And that, among many reasons, is why I love you.
Here’s the link:
“the real battlefield that calls us every day is the
one not too far from our front door” is a piccolo playing high up on a hill , its player not knowing
how its tune touches our hearts way down here.
This is a fav “life-theme” of mine, not the first
soprano, but the viola line, “second fiddle” they
call it “unsung” but you and I hear it clearly.
Like the man on the beach throwing washed up
star fish back in… “What good’ll that do, there
are thousands of starfishes—it makes no difference!” Then the first responder ⛑ throws another starfish back in the ocean and says “IT MATTERS TO THAT ONE!” Love that from my former Pastor named
Rand who taught that in 1994…and I’m relating it here. AGAIN! How did a little star fish
story survive 24 years and wash up again? ♥️
Our minds are taught to measure everything comparatively-
but some hearts🪑transcend and bend~
mending and tending their own victory garden!
Thank you B for celeBrating this Truth. 🎶
I love The Star Thrower, a beauty of a book by Loren Eiseley, that I found because a chair sister, Karen, said plenty of times it was her pinnacle. That’s where the star fish story arises.
It’s a beauty. As are you. ❤️
Just realized that Pull Up A Chair is so real to me that I only now grasped the fact that PUAC is actually an interconnectivity of hearts via electrons, computers, keyboards, THOUGH IT IS A REAL PLACE in the hearts of those who “pullupa” —just as real but virtual only HA—the places you’ll go—while waiting in line at Driver Services Facility for “B217”!! I’m glad Al Gore invented the electron. ⚛️
Barbara, as I read and pondered, I thought of the composer Sara Thomsen’s song: A Song Is Somewhere to Begin. You can enjoy it on youtube:
Our mutual friend Jackie shared Sara with me and Sara’s performed at The Well so she’s in good company with you 🙂
Oh my! Voice like butter! Beautiful.
Gettin’ so multilingual here at the chair!
“what gets tough, gets real, is to station yourself squarely in the middle of your humdrum life, to look out across the landscape, and seek the moments where you might infuse your own cockeyed brand of dorothy day’s little kindness, little strength, little courage.”
The Little Way of St. Thérèse has always had an enormous appeal to me. I love thinking of little kindnesses, little strength, little courage as loaves and fishes…. What a lovely way of putting it. xoxo
and so fulsomely you live a life of little (yet immeasurable) kindnesses. in fact, you stitch them into the everyday with an artistry as beautiful as that which you stitch on your old-cloth canvases.
that was lovely, Barbara.. and just the perfect reminder… >
from Octavia Butler:
“There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.”