For those whose world will end today

December 21, 2012
By

In the silly, wrongly interpreted hype about a Mayan celebration of the passage of time, I think it is very important that we not lose sight of those who are in need of our active compassion.

I am mindful of the many people for whom the world will end today.  People who will lose their homes, forcing them onto the streets and into a feeling of being a member of an outcast level of our society.  Women and men who will experience rape and violence of unspeakable kinds.  Children who will lose their parents.  Girls in the emerging world who will lose their opportunity to go to school.   Men and women who will receive the news that they are HIV positive or suffering from a terminal condition.  Parents who will lose their child.

This human experience is often filled with suffering, and ultimately it does come to an end.

The questions then are:  So what shall we do?  What is our responsibility—what is within our capacity to do—to be the embodiment of compassion for those for whom the world will end today?

I believe that the answers to those questions sometimes are to turn mourning into dancing, and ashes into beauty through the miracles of prayer, faith and healing.

And other times it means making a donation, volunteering, acting on senses of compassion and discernment when we know what we must do—even if sacrificially.

While other times the answer is simply to dwell, to suffer-with, to be present as a representation of strength through the night, and as an expression of hope for the dawn…of a new world yet to come.

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10 Responses to For those whose world will end today

  1. Trinity
    December 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Very nice Nathan—I hope your words will awaken some.

  2. SUZY
    December 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Another beautiful and deeply moving read. Thank you for causing me to STOP and ponder….who can I help today? how can I make a difference in someone’s life? what can I do and say that will be meaningful and full of purpose right now.
    Your words have once again touched my inner soul.

  3. December 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I like this thought that sometimes we are present with someone in suffering, that we wait and believe for the tomorrow that is yet to come.

    • December 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      This is when it makes a difference to believe! = ) I worry about all the people of faith who seem to be in a state of panic. Why embrace faith if they won’t allow it to do what they cannot? Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya. Only a day away.

      • December 22, 2012 at 6:49 am

        I have been pondering this prayer in the book, Seven Sacred Pauses, “Enable me to be at home with impermanence. Teach me the dance of surrender. O make of me a great letting go. May the sacred emptiness of my life help others to know fullness. May I never fear a death that brings me life.”

        • December 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

          Beautiful. I have been exploring Contemplative Prayer. This is reminiscent. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jens Wennberg
    December 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Nathaniel: This morning I was Celebration Associate at our Unitarian Church and I read this as the inspirational reading. Afterwords several people came up to me and said how it had touched them. Thank you.

    • December 24, 2012 at 4:50 am

      Jens, I am honored and blessed to know this. Thank you for sharing with me. –Nathaniel

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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