Monday, December 31, 2007

"What Will Endure?"

This is a reflection that was given on December 30, 2007 at Trinity @ 7

I have often thought of endurance
Not to run the race
But of what will last
From age to age
Or as eternal as a flower bloom
In the timeline of history
What is five hundred years
Or a few thousand, even
In the span of humanity?

But still, I consider endurance
A family name will not endure
A fortune will not endure
A violin will not endure
A temple will not endure
This building will not endure
Cities will rise, cities will fall
Civilizations will peak and decline
Or fall ruin and be forgotten
In two short generations.

It is rather a silly illusion to think
In terms of forever
They say the Buddhist monks
Paint intricately in sand
Take a good look
And destroy their art
Because nothing lasts
And it is an illusion to think it does
It creates only more suffering
When we try to prolong
What needs to die

But, a story may endure
A cradle song, passed down unthinkingly
From mother to child
To father to child may endure
Stories themselves will certainly endure
For we are a storytelling people
And not just since the invention
Of the moving picture
Music and song will endure

But as I think of these things
I wonder,
Is there anything I can create that will endure?
Is there anything our community
Our society can create
That might endure?

But all the while my thoughts are not innocently wandering
I have a destination
And I’d like to arrive there
Integrity intact
Because I wonder about a world
Where peace is assumed as a foundation
Where disagreements are reconciled without violence
Where people have dignity, all people
And no one is left outside of justice
Not just lip service
Not the next campaign promise
Nor the next Millenium Development Goal
Not the next single actor using their power for good
Instead of evil
Not one person shouting to be heard

An entire world civilization,
Because I think to myself,
That might endure
But what is the path
That will lead us to the road
Where this can be experienced?
Because the path of tyranny does not lead there
And the path of an arms race does not lead there
And the path of my god is better than your god
Does not lead there
We walk so many paths, as a planet that do not lead there
America walks so many paths as a nation that do not lead there
New York walks so many paths as a state that do not lead there
Buffalo walks so many paths as a city that do not lead there
And you and I, even we sitting here, thinking these noble thoughts
We walk far too many paths ourselves, that do not lead
To such an enduring place

And yet, when we back up from the canvas of our lives
Tilt our head and squint a bit
What is it that we do that will endure?
Our stories?
Our cradle songs?
Certainly not our monuments
Standing back, looking at the canvas
What is it we do
Each one of us
Each day
That works toward that which endures?

For even when tyranny attempts to wipe that out
It crops up all the stronger
Like a weed in the midst of your formal garden
It seems to endure
Despite your best efforts

What can we do, I wonder, to help it along?


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