Monday, May 01, 2017

DE Ponderings

Late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel opened his program Monday, May 1, with an emotional monologue about the birth of his son which occurred just a few days before. Shortly after the birth, a nurse noticed that the baby’s color was purple (Kimmel’s words). A doctor was summoned and upon further testing it was discovered the baby had been born with a heart defect. Efforts began immediately to call in a specialist who within hours performed surgery that saved the little boy’s life as well as helping him avoid complications later on in life. Kimmel expressed thanks to all those instrumental in providing such great care for his newborn son. He also spoke with emotion about other children in the Children’s Hospital where his son’s surgery was performed. He noted that his son and these other children had the opportunity for a future because of medical knowledge and care, and also because of medical insurance. He wondered what it would be like for children in need of such significant medical treatment without the availability of insurance. It was a plea for the insurance benefits available to all to continue. It was a plea for justice, for life, a voice for the most vulnerable—children and those unable to afford high-cost medical treatment.

Tuesday, May 2, I attended the area ministerial alliance meeting. The superintendent of the local school district had been invited to the meeting to share about a mentoring program he hoped the local religious community would partner in with the school. However, the message he brought turned in the direction of possible severe outcomes as the result of an unbalanced state budget. He painted a rather bleak picture of not only how children will be impacted but how total communities may end up struggling with public safety issues. He indicated that the school district is providing public assistance in other forms besides education, such as breakfast for children, winter coats as needed, and meeting other necessary needs. If schools close from lack of state funding then the additional services they provide will be eliminated as well. He also was clearly aware that other agencies and services were suffering from state funding woes. His thoughts are that writing letters and making phone calls to state legislators is not holding them to a higher code of accountability. He is not interested in a partisan approach to solve this problem. Rather he is interested in what is just for children and families. He is interested in finding a way to move the legislature to a more equitable treatment of an out of control problem.

The two aforementioned experiences have instilled within me a sense of urgency to become involved unlike at any other time. I, too, am not interested in any type of partisan political measure to bring resolution to the serious difficulties we face. I am interested, though, in finding just means and ways to bring all sides together to provide for the good of all, and especially for those most vulnerable.

My interest in becoming more involved stems from the urgent needs of the vulnerable and yet it’s something more. The urgency of need is a voice, a transcendent voice urging me to care for that which the Voice itself has created. It is a voice that speaks of the goodness of all creation, that all of that creation has dignity, and it is my responsibility to ensure that the dignity of all is sustained. It is a voice not of anger but of deep, deep compassion. It is a voice of compassion imploring the compassion within me to be shared for the good of my neighbor and of all creation. I’m ready to listen to that voice to become more compassionately involved. How about you?