Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–By the time I complete this trip I will have circled the world, going from the U.S. to Tokyo and Manila, then to Hong Kong and Addis Ababa, then to Entebbe, Uganda and Amsterdam and back to the U.S. I’ve got more than enough time to think, sitting on very long flights from one connecting point to another.
Here’s what I’m thinking. It is a wondrous and beautiful world. There are vastly more people who behave well than badly. There are many more who merely want to be heard, to serve others, and to live peaceably with their neighbors than want to destroy, bring harm to others or cause ill will.
We only need to be with people to experience this. I have never liked the term “common folks.” The so-called “common” folks aren’t really common after all. They are doing remarkable, heroic work, often with few, if any, resources.
In fact, they are rather extraordinary, confronting principalities and powers, working for justice, establishing orphanages–the list is endless. And it’s uncommonly creative and life-sustaining work. I see those in power who grasp pathetically to keep hold of it, and in the process they betray their own humanity and the humanity of others. Even at the top, they are sad because they miss the real value of power which is to enable the community to tackle the problems that prevent us from becoming as fully human as we are created to become.
But on the ground, without much formal power, people at the grassroots are exercising the extraordinary power of creativity to make conditions better for all. Circling the globe one sees that the good cannot be contained.