Risk – Kent Mayfield


Kent Mayfield

Dubuque, Iowa

May 19, 2019


READINGS – Meditation

 Growing Light -George Ella Lyon

 I write this poem

out of darkness

To you

Who are also in darkness

Because our lives demand it.


This poem is a hand on your shoulder

A bone to touch to go with you

Through the hard birth of vision

In other words, love

Shapes this poem


Is the fist that holds the chisel

Muscle that drags the marble

And burns with the weight

Of believing a face

Lives in the stone

A breathing word in the body.


I tell you

Though the darkness

Has been ours

Words will give us

Give our eyes, opened in promise

A growing light.


The Healing Time – Pesha Gertler

Finally on my way to yes

I bump into

all the places

where I said no

to my life

all the untended wounds

the red and purple scars

those hieroglyphs of pain

carved into my skin, my bones,

those coded messages

that send me down

the wrong street

again and again

where I find them

the old wounds

the old misdirections

and I lift them

one by one

close to my heart

and I say    holy



The Time has Come:  Rumi

The Time has come

To turn your heart into a temple of fire.

Your essence is gold hidden in dust.

To reveal its Splendor, you need to burn in the fire of Love




Viktor Frankl commented on his years in the German death camps of Auschwitz and Dachau: 

There were always choices to make.  Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom, which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance…..Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.

 Albert Einstein once said

A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time   and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection of a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures   and the whole of nature in its beauty.


The following is the full text for an abbreviated reflection presented May 19, 2019.

 The New Year is months past, of course, but I’m still in the process of getting accustomed to the fact of 2019.  Just after Christmas, I saw a cartoon in the “New Yorker.”  There were two lads in bill-reversed caps chatting.  One said to the Other:  “So my therapist said to me- ‘Every day is a surprise,’ And I was like ‘Yeah, that’s the problem.’” 

Each year begins with promise and anticipation but also some degree of risk. Many years back now, New Year’s Eve at the Ford household was a sort of grownups’ talent show. Someone would tell as carefully contrived joke or teach a clever Irish version of spinning dreidels .  One year, Jack planned to play a very well-rehearsed selection by Scott  Joplin, especially for his dear Aunt Katherine.  He tells me now that it was from “The Entertainer,” but I have no specific recollection.  He played and we listened.  It came to a close.  Jack looked up at Aunt Katherine.  “Oh, dear,” she said.  “I had no idea it was so LONG.”

 The New Year can be risky.  We began 2018 with dear friends of longstanding – John and Marianne Hacklander.  They, as did we, bred horses and had shared grand times over the years. Marianne was not a gourmet cook but the menu was never the focus of a shared event at their place.  That year, however, the crowd was big and the spread was impressive.  Pumpkin pie was served for dessert.  We all ate.  Swallowed.  Scarcely a murmur.  Then John stood.  “Marianne,” he said, “that is the worst goddamned pie I have ever tasted!”

Risky business.  Even the pumpkin pie can turn things topsy-turvy.

 I’ve always considered myself, however, to be, basically, a lucky person.  I don’t mean that I’m one of those fellows who pick multi-million dollar lotto numbers on a whim or show seconds too late for flights that go on to crash with no survivors.  I just mean that I have managed to go through this life with few of the standard misfortunes we know about.  I wasn’t abused as a kid or bullied in school.  My parents didn’t split up or die of drug addiction.  I wasn’t ever hit be a car—although come to think of it I was broad-sided by a sleepy farmer and rolled a car full of college students once…and I did run into a Hereford bull on the open range near Tucson, Arizona and nearly severed my nose (thus the scar),but I never caught anything worse than chicken pox.  I dodged AIDS somehow and never had to wear braces.

 Not that I have spent much time thinking about this, but just when I have a satisfying sense that everything is going exactly as it should but might not, it occurs to me, how Luck can be, how smoothly and deliciously deceptive it can be, how relentlessly twisted and knotted in on its own hidden places and how lethal.

 And, I’m thinking today about those kinds of moments when we stand dumbfounded before the junk of the world – junk of our making—stand there staring at the mute, recalcitrant wreck of time; moments when we feel the presence of what has gone before, when we sense the onrushing promise—or threat—of things to come.  Maybe it’s just the time of year….the year is recreating itself….”greening” again. Maybe it is the effect of this week of change and hope and promise strangely joined with concern and anxiety and apprehension.  Not interpreting each day as some dramatic lunge toward self-destruction, which it isn’t, but acknowledging the risk of it all.

 The present moment is a risk, this evanescent sliver of time between past and future where we suffuse all our memories with a golden haze that has something eerily numinous about it. We are called away from the risk of it, continually, by our earthly pleasures and concerns.  Even now you may be thinking it’s time for a cup of coffee and after-service muffins.  It seems always time to be doing something other than what we’re doing at the moment.  While reading in your chair, you find yourself thinking about last night’s argument with your spouse (or child or partner); you’re thinking that it’s time to mow the lawn, check your e-mail, get some sleep, dash to work, pick up the grand kids, feed the boa constrictor, water the philodendron, replace the mustard.


And sometimes I can’t stop my mind from reaching for alternative realities, parallel universes, the promises of worlds yet to be.

 On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs stepped onto a stage in San Francisco, his trademark black mock-turtleneck blending with the shadowed backdrop; clipped hair and lean countenance offering a monk-like silhouette against the screen.  Jobs stepped forward, raised his arms.  And there it was, almost inconspicuous in the palm of his hand.  “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone…here it is…the iPhone.

 At the time, no one consciously believed that smartphones, the internet of things or a now-ubiquitous computing world would reconstruct our lives.  No one imagined the risk of technocracy. And here we are.

 The New York Times Magazine closed out 2018 with a prospectus on the future, comprised of articles by notable scientists, philosophers, political theorists.  One article described the emerging science of xenotransplantation and the quest to use animals as spare-parts factories for humans; how the reflexive response of people hearing about this was negative but how sweepingly those opinions changed when the positive impact on health was realized.  Even today, a cardiac surgeon can reach for pig heart valves to replace leaky and hardened human plumbing and pig corneas can be affixed to damaged eyes.  Yes, a major organ, something that beats or filters or secretes presents a greater challenge.  It’s a RISK but worth the try, right.

 Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania, describes what he sees as the “most important discovery of cognitive neuroscience”: The seemingly trivial activity of mind-wandering (we used to call it “day dreaming” – well, sorta), what is now called time-traveling, whereby the mind sifts through past experiences, imagines future prospects and assesses them for action.  It may feel like some old mythological magic or an update of H.G. Well’s The Time Machine, but it isn’t that. It’s capturing a latent capacity for prospection, training our minds to flash-back/flash-forward to optimize whatever goals one wants: long-term happiness, financial security, social-justice, fame health.  Imagine that. The ultimate “skill-set for success.” Some people will swear by it; others will renounce it.  Risky business. Either way, it’s coming.

 A brave new world, and in it such mortals as we. What will become of us, these thinkers ask.  What, indeed?

 But, for me and perhaps for you, increasingly, what enters my consciousness as I stumble on the edge of summer 2019 is this:  How will future generations judge us?  Will they seethe in anger and curse our time as one of insouciant, irresponsible consumption, a vapid world of Twitterstorms and carb-counting, global gridlock and climate change, leading to destroyed ecosystems and impoverished human communities?  Or will they recall us with blessing, pointing back to a time when environmental and human challenges prompted a move away from death-dealing economic and ecological patterns and a move toward right relationship among ourselves and with the planet.

 For our Unitarian-Universalist theologian/philosopher, Rebecca Ann Parker, the picture is bleak, the risks are high, the edge where we stand is precipitous:

 She writes:

We are living in a post-slavery, post-Holocaust, post-Vietnam, post-Hiroshima world. We are living in the aftermath of collective violence that has been severe, massive, and traumatic.  The scars from slavery, genocide and meaningless war mark our bodies.  We are living in the midst of rain forest burning, the rapid death of species, the growing pollution of the air and water, and new mutations of racism and violence

 How much more destruction will it take, asks Parker, for us to understand the perilous condition of ourselves and our world.  How will future generations judge us?  As pillagers of the earth…..as people consumed by violence….as selfish, thoughtless robbers of the future from those unborn….as people suffering from what the Catholic theologian Daniel Maguire refers to as “moral autism.”

 And the case is powerful.  Parker and Maguire are not alone in believing that the human species faces a perfect economic and environmental storm that is already changing every aspect of modern life.

 We have the evidence.

Since 1950, the world population has more than doubled, from 2.6 billion to 6.4 billion.  There are 10 times more motor vehicles than there were when I learned to drive in 1950.  Fossil fuel use is 5 times what was then, and the need for fresh water has tripled. The polar ice cap has thinned by 46% since I moved to beautiful SW Wisconsin in 1989. 

In late November, the federal government released a devastating scientific report anticipating the long-term effects of global warming to the United States. It makes for frightening reading. 

The authors pulled no punches on the existence of climate change.

“Decisions made today determine risk exposure for current and future generations.” [This was the consensus of hundreds of experts working with officials from a dozen federal agencies, including NASA, the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.] 

You/We know this, of course.

 Rising seas could drive millions of Americans inland. Decreases in oxygen levels in the oceans will kill coral reefs and deplete fishing catches. Severe weather will cause bridges, roads and rails to crumble. Forests will burn. Water shortages in the West will intensify. Phoenix could suffer through 90 days a year of 110-degree heat (versus 10 such days a year of extreme heat recently).

 For the Midwest, the report warns that sopping rains will damage crops, then heat waves will fry them. Humid conditions will spur the growth of pests and pathogens that will degrade the quality of stored corn or soybeans. Before mid-century, the report says, Midwest agricultural productivity will slip back to levels of the 1980s.

 Now a new threat has emerged: Just last week a stark United Nations’ assessment  compiled by hundreds of international experts and based  on thousands of scientific studies, the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilizations concludes that human activities such s farming, logging, poaching fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate “unprecedented in human history.”

 Global warming has come a major driver of wildlife decline by shifting or shrinking climates in which birds and fish and insects and fish evolved to live in. This combined with other ways humans are damaging the environment push a growing number of species closer to extinction.

 We know that already, and we know the prospects for global oil.

 Global oil production will peak soon—the most optimistic estimates say in fewer than 20 years, others claim 2005 was the peak year.  The demand from India and China for oil we presently use can only result in conflict.  If we continue to create an Empire abroad so we can the resources of other countries to support our lifestyle, we are walking into big trouble.

 And, things are not so good for international politics either, I fear.

 Bogged down in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, wars that Obama could not and Trump cannot win, we are sapping money to support our crumbling infrastructure here at home.  Our massive military simply will not protect us against terrorist attack, guerilla warfare and ages old enmities in Palestine and Israel and Iran and Russia.

 We know, we know, we know!

 And, of course, there is the Economy.  There has to be serious question about a long-term economic strategy that supports consume and spend, living high on borrowed bucks, while running a monumental trade deficit, gobbling up products produced by sweatshop labor in other countries and fighting to keep wages down at home.  No wonder, psychologists predict more mall violence and workplace rampages.

 Yes, we know. We know how many are saying that the center will not hold, that all things will converge in such a way as to call the question on social and economic organization as we know it.  So already we stand in the rubble, surrounded by insistent questions on right and left.

 Rising income inequality has…changed the attitudes and behavior of American voters, sowing resentment, fanning prejudice and eroding the sense of shred values, shared purpose and shared destiny that once held the country together.  [Steven Pearlstein: Can American Capitalism Survive? (NYT, November 2)]

 Divided government returned to Washington this year. The Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives marked the end of a period of one-party control. Did it usher in another term of gridlock with the Senate confirming the status quo and the House investigating the increasingly slippery slopes of scandal …probably more of both…characterized by intransigent, sand-in-the gears resistance…with occasional calls for cooperation and compromise.?  Maybe.

 But neither constitutes a moral vision for politics.  Compromise, cooperation, moderation – these are important instruments for practicing politics well.  They are not core virtues. 

Before Thanksgiving, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Guardian, November 7, 2018) said “In the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, our greatest scarcity is not a lack of resources but the absence of political courage and moral imagination.” 

moral vision for politics is more concerned with the people laws affect than with the people who do or do not cooperate in making them.  BUT, I know, I know. Americans do not share a single moral vision, nor do all Christians or Unitarian-Universalists, nor do all those of some faith or no faith at all.  Still, surely any moral vision has to place a high priority on the concerns for the poor, the sick, people with disabilities and those our society leaves behind.  Whatever their moral vision, leaders should be called to defend their actions on those terms—not with calls to the partisan barricades and not with paeans to compromise.  Compromise can sooth and opposition can galvanize.  But, we don’t need either for its own sake.  We need clear moral vision.  Working across the aisle is not a moral vision.  Neither is refusing to. 

The question, then, is not perhaps how future generations will judge us but how will we live today. Are we faced with moral catastrophe?  Is the apocalypse that our fundamentalist friends have been warning us about coming after all…but not with the End Times rapture with the pious swept up into heaven while the unwashed Unitarians and other non-believers languish here on earth…No, I suspect, we’ll all be here, languishing.  Trying to exist “on the road” amidst the shards of our DVD’s and single-use plastic bags and derelict Dodge Ram’s while checking posts on Facebook or Instagrams. 

How sturdy will be we, how suspicious, how brave, how bitter?  What is the present and the future going to do to us, individually and collectively, when dread takes up residence next door, or right upstairs in the empty rooms we prowl around when we can’t sleep because our debts and doubts are making too much noise? 

Will there be a meltdown over oil and water.  Will the earth lose its capacity to cope with our garbage?  Will economic collapse come? 

—Or will we repent as a nation and turn to ways of health and healing. Will we begin to use our formidable power to exercise moral leadership? 

For David Korten, the answer to the question yet rests with us, and he is doing his utmost to advance the latter, more hopeful historical verdict.


In his new book – well not all that new – published in 2006 – The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, Korten, a former Harvard business professor with a Ph.D. from Stanford, claims that we are culturally at a crossroads.  [He takes the title of his book from eco-philosopher Joanna Macy’s assertion that   Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back to an epochal transition in social, political, economic and religious values to a “Great Turning”….or if we do not make good choices “The Great Unraveling.”]

 His agenda is admittedly audacious, saturated in risk, hopelessly ambitious but at core it is elegantly simple: free yourself from the cultural trance of consumption, free yourself from the notion that you stand alone and that the path to happiness and success is upward and onward. Give up the idea that we are only self-interested individuals, unconnected and unconcerned with one another. Begin to understand in practical ways what the 7th Principle of Unitarian-Universalism has attempted to say for a generation or more:  Respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. 

Simple, yes, but not easy. Risky. 

By any measure, the transition will not be an easy one.  We are notoriously reluctant to make changes, to move away from the familiar, to take risks. 

The central cultural story for the middle class American is risk-aversion:  get into a good pre-school, even if it costs a lot of money; then a better elementary school, then an even better high school, followed by the best college you can get into; get a high-paying job, get married, work hard, have some children you don’t have to see too often, buy a nice house or two and some toys to play with like boats and pickups, games (and ok – horses for me) consume, consume; get old and die.  That’s it.  That’s the American Dream.  Is that a Dream….Is that a story worthy of your life? 

So what would a different story be? What would your story be?  I believe that we can learn to tell ourselves a new story….a story of cooperative effort to rebuild community, of sharing, of creative exchange. 


The first step toward change will have to be the realization that the story we’ve been living is defunct.  We have to become convinced of how sick we and this culture really are before we can begin to imagine a new story for ourselves and our communities and our church.  It is hard to admit that we have been living a lie. 

I know full well that we will not easily give up our violent, self-destructive, last-man-standing competition for individual advantage. 

Six and one half billion humans must make a choice to change course to make LIFE rather than POWER our defining value and partnership rather than domination the model for our relationships with one another and the planet. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the creative challenge before us. 

But it can be done.  Energy, my friend Rabbi Michael Lerner insists, always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others and a desire to control. 

It will be a tug of war, perhaps, but we can move in another direction.  It just takes enough of us to tip the balance.  Think about it in this simple way:  There was a time when just about everybody smoked—and now almost nobody I know smokes (or admits to it at least). 

There was a time when women could get jobs only as secretaries, elementary school teachers and nurses…and only then if they were not married and tolerated regular harassment. 

That’s changed…perhaps not changed but changing, changing. 

There are people in this place today whose love could not have spoke its name even 25 years back. And, there are people still alive whose direct relatives were slaves.  There was a man in the White House not so long ago whose father would not have been served in a Washington restaurant 50 years ago. 

Things can be changed…they change slowly, yes…but they can change. 

Polls show that 83 percent of Americans believe that we need to rebuild our neighborhoods and small communities and fear that family life is declining; 93 percent agree that we are too focused on working and making money and not focused enough on friendship and family and community; 86 percent agree that we re too focused on getting what we want now and not focused enough on the needs of future generations. 

It is not that people don’t understand that we have a problem—it’s that people have had their imaginations drained out of them by the constant barrage of commercials and sales and fashion and new technology on every hand. They have had their energies sapped by jobs with less and less meaning, their emotions taxed by disappointment and anger and fear.  They need a new vision. They need leadership.  They need the warm embrace of a caring community.  They need to understand that what IS is not a given but comes from human choices and choices can yet be made. 

Viktor Frankl was right. 

There are always choices to make.  Every day, every hour, offers the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determines whether you will submit to those powers which threaten to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom, which determine whether or not you will become the plaything of circumstance…..Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. 

However, instead of increasing our sense of well-being, an abundance of choice is increasing our levels of anxiety, depression and wasted time.  Whether we are deliberating between 127 options in salad dressing or breakfast cereals, TV shows, career paths, pension plans or life-time partners, the array of choices can be overwhelming.  Still, in modern America, the freedom to decide who you are and who you will become is definitive. 

And that is where we come in. 

Actually, I know that many of you see the situation much as do I and are on the road to change.  Many of you know that “neither the country nor the society we built out of it can be healthy until we stop raiding and running, and learn to be quiet part of the time, and acquire the sense NOT of ownership, but of belonging.” 

Many of you belong to that group of people that Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson refer to as “cultural creatives” – a growing segment of the US population – approximately 26% they say – who embrace a new culture that values diversity, stewardship of the environment, economic justice and civil rights for all.  They say that roughly half this number combine these beliefs with some form of spiritual practice. 

It is possible that we’ve reached a moment beyond creative commiseration.  It’s not enough to talk about some kind of new inebriating intellectual wine, some new ideas. Without new wineskins—changed institutions, systems, and structures—I would argue that transformation cannot be deep or lasting. 

In 1998, at the UUA General Assembly, Professor Robert Bellah offered us a rich and provocative address. His initial observation, more than 20 years ago, will perhaps take some of us by surprise. It is true, he argues, that Unitarian Universalists (UUs) are strong dissenters in the area of social justice, but we are nonetheless squarely in the mainstream of traditional American thought and practice, tenaciously individual and unable either to articulate a shared spiritual vision or to describe a compelling pattern for meaningful human life. 

The thrust of his presentation was that UUs are so affirming of the inherent worth and dignity of the individual and of the need to respect our individual differences and personal autonomy that we come close to eliminating any general, collective relevance to the surrounding culture. 

“You face in your denomination the most basic conundrum of American life,” he concluded. “If you can solve it, you may help lead the larger society out of the wilderness into which it has wandered.” 

Over the last several months, a number of congregations, larger and smaller, in the UU movement have given this issue forthright attention.  They shared this common experience:  Newer, often younger but not always, visitors or relatively recent members have fallen away.  They come, stay for a while and before long leave.  A common pattern. Why? Leaders asked? 

So, they asked the people themselves. Here are some of the responses: 

…It’s a nice enough place but it is stuck somewhere in a past I wasn’t a part of.

…still talking about issues they had– mostly that they didn’t believe this or that and they are angry about something in the past but no drilling down deep to the quandaries of life today

…no frank discussion of anything really. The local library is more cutting edge.

…So, they don’t like Jesus much.  So, “What do you like, I ask, and the topic changes to coffee and muffins.

…progressive politics but no hands-on action. Taste-good fast-food spirituality

…lackluster Sundays and between Sundays nothing

…friendly older people intellectually unengaged with today 

That’s part of what they said. 

But, many said…..just as I hear from time to time here.

…I seek change, meaning, service.

…I want deep, frank attention to my spiritual life.  I want to dig deep.  The world around isn’t what it was. I don’t want to re-hash old debates.

…Discipline, study, exploration – I came for a vision of a new way to live my life. 

It is from these people….from people just like you, just like me…that a new story will emerge.  I’m not sure just what words you will choose and how you will put them together in a new story for your life and our life together as a fellowship.  Perhaps – service, presence, peace, integrity. Perhaps – joy, giving, covenant.  Perhaps – Love.  Perhaps, Sacrifice. Perhaps, RISK. 

It is happening around us even now.  A small UU fellowship in central Illinois has opened “Stone Soup Kitchen” in its basement serving farm workers every Saturday. In Milwaukee, three churches of radically diverse faith traditions (one UU) have teamed to create the Riverwest Food Pantry with a year-long study group to examine the underlying spiritual and political foundation for social change. 

Another in the Chicago area just announced Pub-Talk – Beer, Conversation and God – designed for millennials on the move.

 A suburban Baptist church in the Nashville and another Methodist congregation in Los Angeles and a UU congregation I Minnesota have moved their summer services into nearby parking lots, serving scones and coffee communion to the neighborhood. 

In Sheboygan, Epikos, a neo-evangelical-social-activist movement began two programs – one among socially isolated older people living alone in the community, the other in a large retirement center – with the motto – “no one lives (and no one dies) alone.” 

Others are planting and maintaining roadways, monitoring travel patterns, picking up trash along the walkways and talking about why they are doing it and how it changes their lives.


Two UU congregations I know have deliberately infiltrated faith settings outside the reach of liberal thinking to listen and learn in strange new world of evangelical spiritual practice.  And, they have invited speakers to come to their fellowships to tell their stories of spiritual journey. 

At the First Unitarian Society in Madison, they created a program called Quest – A Spiritual Journey. It is an innovative and transformative faith development program that promotes both intense spiritual growth and the building of community. Over two years, participants join together in groups, classes, and retreats to explore their faith in the company of fellow seekers. 

[Quest was developed by First Unitarian Society in 2008, published in 2010, and has since been implemented by other faith communities in the United States. 


– Honor our spiritual selves

– Awaken wisdom and inherent knowledge

– Create intentional spiritual community

– Embrace and express reverence for the sacred interdependent web 

At another fellowship in NE Wisconsin, a group is exploring the promise of “evolutionary…spirituality” featuring over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers in a 7 – session program (for which I just happen to have the materials) and the 3rd Unitarian Church in Chicago has moved away from any sort of worship service except on one Sunday a month and created a time for guided, disciplined meditation derived from individual but diverse traditions and a Fellowship of Seekers to study the scriptures of great traditions, consciousness and emerging thought. 

Whatever the words and whatever the ways, this fellowship, this fellowship to can be a place where we and others come to hear a new story, explore a new path and try out new ideas and new ways of being. As the saying goes: We must become the change we wish to see. 

This fellowship can…really it must… reach out to embrace others who are writing their own stories, honoring the gods of their individual journeys.  WE must invite others into a community of love and support.  WE must experiment with our work to move beyond what has succeeded in the past on the corner of Iowa and 17th and dare to do a new thing….here and in other places. 

The choice to bless the world is more than the intention to do good.  It is a confession of surprise, a grateful acknowledgement that in the midst of a broken world, unspeakable beauty, grace and mystery abide…in and around us. 

This fellowship can foster that change. It can …. And we can… respect the web of life.  Our pain can make us feel the pain of other people.  Our fear can let us practice valor.  We can be tense. We can be tender, as well.  Our gifts can be used to bless rather than curse the world. The choice is ours. The choice is yours. The choice is mine. 

The choice to make a change, to bless the world, will surely bring with it risks…in unaccustomed even uncomfortable places to seek out the sources of inner power and grace….and it may draw us into community, a shared endeavor, a heritage of free thought, the companionship of struggle and service, the importance of keeping faith, the life of ritual and praise, the comfort of human friendship, the company of the earth. 

None of us alone can save the world.  Together…well, that is another possibility….waiting. 

Perhaps, as Rumi says,

 The Time has come

To turn [our] hearts into a temple of fire.

[Our essence] is gold hidden in dust.

To reveal its Splendor, [we] need to burn in the fire of Love


May it be so.