"A good example is the best sermon." - Thomas Fuller


April 12, 2004

I watched a movie the other night called "The Witness", a Harrison Ford film from the 80's about a cop caught between the modern world and that of the Omish people. At the climax of the movie there's the typical life and death struggle in which the protagonist and antagonish clash. While this is occurring the little Omish boy central to the story runs to the main house where he rings a bell. The camera turns to focus on the surrounding countryside where other Omish can be seen running towards the farm, determined to see how they can help. Dozens show up from miles around with no more request than the simple ringing of a bell.

During the film my roommate commented something to effect, "Lets move there," and though I could do without getting up at 4:30 to milk the cows and acquiring the religious beliefs necessary to appropriately fit into that society, I understand and agree with her assertion. We live in a fast paced, modern world that's always going, going, going. Most of us wouldn't know a hard day's work if it bit us on the ass. And often in our culture people ring a bell for help, for kindness, for compassion, and for love, and are mocked, ridiculed, criticized, and ignored.

What I don't get is why people don't see how this poisons their lives socially, psychologically, and energetically. In the last six months I have witnessed people:

I've had it put before me, "Why would you be around people like this?" I've tried to answer this and similar questions but the straight fact is people who are regularly critical, dishonest, gossipy, or afraid, can't even conceive what it means to be a genuinely honest and caring person. The first thing they say is, "Everyone has ulterior motives." There's no trust, no caring, no hope, no future besides a new pair of pants and blouse, eyebrow plucking, makeup wearing, perfume covered, fuck whomever, superficiality.

And so it goes. We all make our choices. The challenge is to make them thoughtfully, wisely, and with kindness. That is not the act of a hero. That is the act of someone who wants a better world and is willing to stand up for it.