Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Towards No End And Yet Still Beginning

The morning started differently. A tram and bus ride into town found me looking at newspapers lining a park bench, someone's bed for a drizzly night. An old person tried to speak Mandarin to me. Persons getting on the bus and saying, “I've no money,”or using whatever change they have, and being allowed onboard. A very tired, worn, homeless person looking for shelter, asking for a prayer. Another person looking longingly at a basketball game they would probably love to be playing. And it isn't even winter yet.

Going to a brief workshop organised by A Faith That Does Justice( the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,seemingly includeda God-sized welcoming party. Surprises surfaced, including getting lost, yetgetting to know other people of goodwill, of old souls and big love. Of speaking truth to power, and of speaking to be less lonely and build community - two unnecessarily different activities that morning.

If we look closely, we can see many people of goodwill. Yet we are not always good at being good to ourselves –how can we be good for others? By being as good as we can, and not as we cannot. Like the person who gave up salt, pepper and butter twenty years ago, and is working on giving up hard drinking (but loves milk a lot). Like the poor who may be bent by circumstances, but not their smiles. Unlike the rich who make money unjustly, burden the downtrodden unnecessarily, and refute with legal arguments that there was no crime. What unfolded then and later, with or without reflection or intervention, was still up to them.

It is human to think of survival. Being people of goodwillbecomes apparent when we reach out, and does not stop until we have stopped for good ourselves.Better still, remember that this journey is a journey of countless steps, but any start requires just one step, over and over again.

Take some time. Rest and reflect. A little reflection helps, because our intentions do not limit our horizons, an easy and frequent misunderstanding.  Try, for we can and should ask that of ourselves, and be generous with our failures and ourselves as others had been, and even then, always be ready to begin again.

Michael Phung, SJ