Litany

 

 

 

 

Litany

By Will Baker

 

Hello my sisters and brothers and welcome to this gathering of the minds of people of good will. On this day we find ourselves hurtling through space each in our own corner of the world, some in winter, others in summer, some in sunlight and yet others in darkness. As we move through the temporal expanse that we call home, we have the realities of our fragile existences with which to contend and it seems to me that these realities are public and private in nature. And as it relates to that private aspect, we are utterly alone yet the public nature of our connectedness is what brings us all here to this convocation, friends and enemies well met.

Thank you for coming, not that you could have done otherwise, for what has brought you all to this place? Well, some of you are seeking for the meaning of life, others are wondering about the rumor of war, and others still are no doubt grappling with some academic exercise or other. But there is a common thread, gentle reader, for we have all been summoned by who and what we are. Maybe we are called to quell our private fears, or to search for the answers to important questions, which might help us to become something a little bit better than we are at the present moment. Perhaps, by virtue of this global gathering we are attempting to transform ourselves into something whose whole is greater than the sum of its constituent parts. But what ever your private reasons, I thank you for your presence.

Now on to the "meat" of the matter. I am told that many of you are fearful, so I want you to recall the faces of your parents. As you read these lines, pull them from your memory when they were at their very best. Focus on their faces when they were pure and comforting and when they uttered common truths to you. For my friends, I have good news. See their faces and recall those fundamental truths for even in these fearful, uncertain times what our mothers and fathers taught us has value for us. Can you see them? Can you smell them? Do you feel their touch and their warm embrace? Do you feel their love?

Of course we are fearful. But what of this fear, this most primal of emotions? This fear can not hurt us. This fear can not take our children. This fear can not lay waste, unless we allow it to. I am told that perhaps we resent fear and it angers us. I am led to understand that this fear keeps us awake at night when we should be at rest, enjoying sweet sleep as a reward for the toil of our days. As it relates to global conflict, I know with utter certainty that some of you reading these lines are fearful of being attacked. Yet others are fearful of attacking. And no doubt, many of us fear for the lives of our children. But fear can not take from us. Fear can not exact revenge. Fear can not visit retribution upon us.

I am told that many rage at the unfairness of it all--that so few can have so very much, that innocents are slaughtered, that there seems to be no end to brutality, injustice, suffering and exploitation. Under such circumstances, one might wonder how to avoid utter despair at the situation. Yet others turn away, aghast at what they see and in doing so they feel guilt and shame. Still others take action and due to the connected nature of our existences we must all live with the consequences of their decisions. Many of us, friend and foe alike, seem secure in our convictions. Yet in our hearts we all wonder, even the boldest among us. As an aside, inside us all dwell Gods and cannibals. Therefore these manifestations can be counted among our great assembly as well.

The sword is raised high, poised to strike yet again. And the hand that holds this sword is trembling. Our words have failed, for we do not speak a common language of the heart--we mistrust one another. As you read these lines, in your mind’s eye look about you. Know that these words are being read by your sisters and brothers around the globe, know that these words are being translated into common tongues, know that friend and foe alike are reading with you. For ours is a great assembly convened in the quiet before the latest storm.

And surely more blood will flow, if not this time then the next. The sword might very well be lowered yet I fear that it will be some time before it shall be put to rest for good. But my sisters and brothers remember the face of your father. There is good news. For one day the sword shall at last be put away. One day an era of peace and goodness will dawn. For our great assembly of global thinkers is an expression of that which is self-evident. We are all sisters and brothers under the sun. And this realization has been developing, is developing, as we march forth en masse towards the actualization of humankind’s destiny.

So go forth and be of good cheer. Do good works and set your fear aside, for there is hope for the future. And remember this assembly and what we have learned together this day…

 

 

 (Essay Collection)