Sunday, December 14, 2008


I promise I'm not going to write about Puritans every day.

However, listen to this passage, from John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We must delight in each other, make other's conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community, as members of the same body."

Wow. As I read this, I feel more than a little bit of shame. You see, I know that I can be, in the words of my father, "The worst kind of liberal." You know, the kind that likes pretty words and ideas, but doesn't necessarily like the hard work that goes with 'em.

For example, a friend who works at the hospital was telling me that there have been more cases of infant malnutrition, because mothers have been watering down their formula. To make it last longer. Because it's expensive.

So, fast-forward a few days. I'm at Safeway, in the baby aisle. I see formula and think about buying a few cans to donate to the food shelter. I don't because it's "too expensive." However, I do find money to buy the new Oprah magazine, because it's important for me to understand why she gained the weight again.

Now, when I look at that magazine, I feel very small.

I don't have a solution to this, except that I need to try harder. I need to translate thoughts into action. I need to look beyond words.

And while usually, my advice to myself is to cut myself some slack, this time I need to remember that it's not just about me. I'm part of a community, and it's my job to support other people, especially those that need it the most.

I mean, it shouldn't be a lofty goal to be at least as caring and compassionate as a Puritan...right?

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