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  • New Years Resolution

    2011 - 12.31

    A week ago on Christmas Eve, Ken and I were walking with Ava, our 3 year old granddaughter through the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM. The Plaza is in the old part of town and there are hundreds of specialty shops all through the streets and buildings. It is not shopping for the faint at heart because the prices are quite lofty. Mostly we were window shopping and looking for a toy store. I stopped in one store to ask the price of a belt with a silver buckle; $575…and right outside the door, standing on the street in 25 degree weather, playing an old wooden flute was an old man with long silver hair. He was Native American, and he stood without a jacket playing his flute for the quarters and dollars people tossed into his case. All that affluence surrounding him, shoppers dropping thousands of dollars on jewelry and wall hangings, pottery, clothes, furs, and toys, and then walked past the old man and either ignored him all together, or tossed pennies into his case. No one spoke to him. No one looked at him. He was invisible. I watched him for a long time… and he has lived in my heart since.

    That night people filled the cathedral and sang “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All”, celebrating the birth of a small child born to people who were homeless wanderers. People who would not have been able to afford a $575 belt buckle.  I wonder if we would pass them by, or stop and throw a couple of quarters without speaking to them. I wonder if they too, would be invisible.

    The most celebrated individual in the whole entire historical world was not a king, was not wealthy, had no power, no belongings, and no money. Yet the life of this child, born to paupers; Jeshua Ben Josef, who was Jesus, who is the Christ, has impacted an entire planet. Sometimes we remember from the inside what all this is supposed to mean, but mostly we pay attention to the outside, to the hustle and bustle, to Face Book, Twitter, our I Pads, cell phones, texting, email, to reality TV, Sports, Game Shows, Judge Judy, America’s got Talent; too busy, too important, too arrogant, too involved with our own selves and uninvolved with the feelings of those who sit on this green planet with us. Maybe it is because there are so many of us. Maybe it is because even if we are aware and we want to help, we feel impotent.

    What can we do? There is so much pain, how can we change any if it? It is easier to walk past, eyes straight ahead, than to confront it and see ourselves reflected in the eyes of those who stand in need. Not because we are callous and cold and unfeeling, but because we are fearful and we don’t want to show it.

    What if, just for a moment, we stop and look into the eyes of that old man standing in the cold with no coat, playing an old wooden flute, hoping that someone will notice that he is alive and breathing and in need? What if, instead of passing him by, we stop and embrace him? What if, when we sing, “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All” we really mean it? And we take off our coats and wrap it around that old man. What if, by our actions, he learns that he has value and that he is loved? What if this is the true meaning of peace?

    This is my New Years Resolution…To never pass by another being, human or animal, who is reaching out for help… never again… But how will I know that they need something?  I will just ask…

    2012 here you are.

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