War, and in the meantime

Somewhere in your community during this hour a woman will be battered by a tyrannous husband, father, boyfriend, girlfriend, or even son or daughter. In her realm she is consumed by war, a refugee from her own home, completely ignored by world leaders who see no glory in coming to her rescue. You, however, can go to your local shelter for battered women and offer your love, your compassion, your resources. For these women who are bruised, bloodied, demoralized as any exotic refugee, there will be no American relief packages miraculously falling from the sky, parcels filled with candy bars and pamphlets urging her to overthrow her government, to choose freedom over oppression.

All around you, in your neighborhood are people who need your energy, your time, your love – an elderly invalid, a young boy struggling to learn his multiplication tables, workers who have lost their jobs, families, living in poverty. (If you happen to be a committed misanthrope, there are libraries, animal shelters and city parks that also need attention.) The war will go how the war will go and certainly we must be mindful of our leaders’ assumptions that we are stupid enough to forego our deepest beliefs in freedom in order for them to climb to ever higher power and glory. Yet we are no better than they if we remain unwilling to reach out to those in our midst, both neighbors and strangers, in order to make our communities – especially those who have been abandoned by the same government intent on saving communities elsewhere around the world – better places to live, so that when the war does end, in a week or a decade, our own neighborhoods will be safer, cleaner, and friendlier, less burdened by oppression.

Tipped by Kaila Colbin, from “Living, Loving and Other Heresies”, by Zsolt, 2003, Conundrum Press. At Amazon Bill Moyers left his comment, “If this is heresy, we need more of it! A timeless book of compelling prose and poetry.”