Saturday, October 1, 2016

a short true story for when one is overwhelmed by the world's troubles

a true account for when you are overwhelmed, when events are going wrong,
from Swanee Hunt:

" old woman...lived in a little town in Croatia.

Every day she had one job, to go at noon to the church, to take the ropes
that were tied up on the wall, untie them, pull on the ropes,
and ring the bells in the tower.

During the war [Serbia-Kosovo-Croatian War] in village after village, when the Serb forces came in tanks, they would shoot up all the houses of the Catholics, the Croats, and then they would end up at the church.

They would go to the church and shoot up the church. At the very end they would shoot the tower.

Then they would roll out, and it would now be a Serb town.

This old woman whose church had been shot up, every day you would find her in the churchyard at noon.

There was wood splintered everywhere, but in the middle of the debris, the big bell
that had been in the bell tower
was lying on its side on the ground.

Sophia, this eighty-year-old woman,
was bent over with her old gnarled hands
grasping the clapper
and swinging her arms,
the bell.

I carry Sophia inside of me,
and I hope you will.

No matter what the circumstances
in which you are working,
in which you are living,
your job is to keep
your hands on that clapper,
ringing the bell."

by Swanee Hunt, diplomat, ambassador, founder of Hunt Alternative Fund,
for advancing innovative and inclusive approaches to social change
at local, national, and global levels, and professor at Harvard
from Global Values 101: A Short Course Edited by Kate Holbrook,
Ann S. Kim, Brian Palmer, Anna Portnoy

Remember the classic words:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

by John Dunne

And here's a little throw-away punning for those who need a laugh,
as well as a wing and a prayer:

To misquote the old Zen question--
What is the sound of one hand clappering?

In the light of hope and truth,

Daniel Wilcox

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