A Weekly Column
CARING, SHARING HEARTS
Spring is the season of life, of birth, of renewal.
I sense it as I work the ground and prepare the earth for the flowers and vegetables that will eventually bring beauty to my yard and nutrition to my table. I feel it as I prune the apple trees, trimming away the old to make room for the new. I see it in grass that is suddenly green and suddenly needs to be mowed.
Puttering in the garden on a cheery spring Saturday, with life bursting and blossoming all around me, it is difficult to imagine a different scenario. There is something about sinking a spade into rich, brown soil that makes you forget that somewhere on the other side of the world car bombs are exploding, guns are firing and people -- fathers, mothers and children -- fear for their lives. It's as if we've suddenly been thrust into an episode of "Star Trek," and we're somehow co-existing with a parallel world.
Only it isn't a different world in which they live; it's our world. We share it. It's just that right now, other people are getting more than their fair share of unpleasantness.
I guess it's sort of always
been that way. When I was growing up,
Mom used to urge me to eat my vegetables by reminding me of the starving
Of course, I was wrong about
that. And so, it turns out, was
Mom. While it is true that there were
children starving in
That remains true today. All around us there are people -- seen and unseen -- who are struggling in ways we can't even imagine. They may not have to deal with car bombs going off near their place of worship, but they face crises that are no less real, with bombs exploding in their hearts and war being waged in their souls. While we putter in our gardens or play happily with our children, they are hungry, frightened, lonely, distressed. Their problems may be political, sociological, biological or environmental. They may even be problems that are entirely of their own making. When it comes right down to it, it really doesn't matter -- certainly not to them, nor should it to us.
When others are in crisis, our hearts should go out to them. But so should our hands. It isn't enough just to feel compassion. We need to be compassionate. We may not be able to do anything about the bombs that are being dropped in other parts of the world, but we can do something about the bombs of inhumanity that are being lobbed at people in our own communities. We can share with the hungry. We can stand up for the abused. We can comfort the weary and bereaved. We can provide a moment of loving companionship for those who face the world alone.
We can, and we should. After all, their suffering doesn't exist in some parallel world straight out of science fiction. It's our world. It's real. It's shared.
And it's spring.
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