Who has feelings and hopes, and dreams for the future like you desire. We want so little actually. Shelter, food and love are staples and simply to find a way to work, to earn a living, to serve, to be of use, at best.
It was through my experiences with Service Learning I was able to meet Cathy Berger Kaye who on more than one occasion read aloud each of the words in a poem by Marge Piercy entitled: To Be of Use, beginning with the words: "The people I love the best jump into work head first..."
It is work that can give satisfaction and when no one is looking absolutely pure joy. The confidence of practice changed directly into faultless skill is longed for by those who wait to be admitted into professional programs by gatekeepers who regulate admission it seems arbitrarily. Our young can wait and do wait until they climb on through those gates or seek another path, to find that other work, a life's calling that will do as well.
Some transition and follow paths forged by generations. One of my former Cherokee Volunteers did this. He followed after his father who had followed his father into dentistry. Three generations who practiced those skills "head first" for could it be nearing a century? When I first came to Miami, the elder Dr. Robinson had, as I remember an office upstairs in the Robinson building, able to see the sites of the city and his son, Dr. Tom Robinson's practice allowed him a view of the flow of traffic and now the younger Dr. Chris Robinson looks down from the First National Bank building at that constant flow and is doing "what has to be done, again and again."
Serving the public, a person at a time. I remember when he was in high school he worked afternoons on casting molds that might be used as crowns. He learned so easily:
"the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident."
It must have been contagious these generations of Robinsons who longed "for work that is real."
The generation becoming our replacements need our support and our trust in them. They have conviction and I hope the expectation we will welcome and believe in them. We must remember we will be replaced, but work can continue and be carried on, better if we do the work of helping to prepare them for it.
Our country is hurting, we have to believe in it, too. There are injustices. But they do not have to continue to occur. It can stop with each of us. As is said, this country is built on stolen land. Tribal peoples have faced injustices since as Will Rogers explained, "we met the boat." Had tribes been made to work for nothing, had we not fought injustice, and been able to survive European diseases, there may never have been a need to enslave stolen Africans to do our work for nothing. There are generations of injustices to right. And as they say, the sins of the fathers, sits with even many of the southeastern tribes who in the "race" to assimilate adopted the practice, too of having our own slaves.
These legacies of owning and being owned are not that old nor is the status as being an "other" as defined by race, color or religion. But "others" are easily hated and hatred can be hurtful, and can lead to physical hurt. Having power over an "other" feeds on itself.
Another former Miami High School graduate, Scott Jones learned much more about how hurtful settings where power becomes unleashed when as a minister in Omaha this weekend he walked with other ministers to do his work to minister to people in a rally, only to be injured by what could have been a rubber bullet as it hit the back of his head. He spoke about that moment, the confusion, the fear, the pain of not ministering to others, but becoming an identified "other" and injured by authorities. It can stop with us as we find ways to widen the opportunities for our basic needs to be met, safe shelter, education and work that will sustain us.
To be of use.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim