News & Notes: April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

Dear Parents,

God’s peace!

I thought today I would reflect a bit on something that I know has made a difference in my life… and perhaps it has made a difference in yours. It’s rather simple to grasp as an idea, but a bit more difficult to enter into as a mindset…and even more difficult to live out as a way of life. This mindset has everything to do with perspective.

Our world of late has experienced much in terms of tragedy… disruption…natural disasters… and terror. We need to ask the important question, “What does all that have to do with me?” I would venture to say… everything. We are all connected. As John Donne, a 17th century poet, said so well…

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

This connection must move us to respond…and we can respond in many ways. We can choose to respond with providing funds to support those who have been devastated by the earthquake in Nepal, to praying for the people of Baltimore whose city is in the midst of racial uproar, and offering our sacrifices for those living in terror in the Middle East.

Recently, however, I’ve begun to see the power of perspective when considering challenges that surround me whether personal or more global. Being aware of the unrest in those pockets of the world where people live under regimes that care little for humanity, I can be grateful for the democracy that governs my country. As imperfect as it is, I have the freedom to speak, to choose, to write, to believe without threat of harm. The water shortage in California… the drought in Africa… all call me to respond in gratitude for the tap water that flows freely from my faucet as well as to allow me to be more conservative in my use of this gift.

Another impact that perspective has had on my life manifested itself as I waited in the waiting room for my next treatment. I found myself wondering how children go through chemo and radiation. What fear they must face not only in the treatment itself, but in their anticipation of what is to come. So what does this have to do with me? Well, it gives me perspective regarding my own experience. It helps me to see that someone else has a greater challenge than I do. It gives me hope that if those with a greater challenge have gotten through “all this” than I can too. It also allows me the privilege of giving over my present reality for the needs of others… these procedures have become prayer.

Perspective is incredibly powerful simply because it takes the focus off of me… and puts it elsewhere. Perspective has the power to move my heart to gratitude for what I have… no matter how much or how little.

Perhaps we might begin today to look around and see things from a different perspective… and then when we focus on “the other”…we can move into greater gratitude for all we have been given.

May you find your heart filled with gratitude these days…

In prayer,
Sr. Maureen