If you are lucky in this life, A window will appear on a battlefield between two armies. And when the soldiers look into the window They don’t see their enemies. They see themselves as children. And they stop fighting And go home and go to sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.
Cameron Penny's If You Are Lucky in This Life was originally published in the November/December 2001 issue of North American Review. Marie Howe reads his poem in the film Voices in Wartime.
I love this quote. It creates an irresistible tension between our present reality and the world of our imagination. We are compelled to resolve the tension through our own acts of courage and compassion.
"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more 'successful' people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it."
When Julio Diaz stepped off the New York City subway platform after work one night, he was simply planning to walk over to his favorite local diner for a meal. But when a teenage boy approached him with a knife blade gleaming in his fist, Diaz, a 31-year-old social worker, knew the evening was about to take a more dramatic turn.
The young man demanded Diaz's wallet, and Diaz passed it over without objection. But just as his mugger turned to walk away, Diaz called after him: "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something."
Only a few months ago, I started voice lessons with Mark Power, a Seattle-area voice coach, composer, and a singer/performer in many operas and musicals. I knew little about Mark's personal background, but I gave him a copy of the book I published in 2011: The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family. My book tells the history of fundamentalism over the past two centuries, and connects that history with the history of my own family across the generations.