Timing is everything

Recently, I’ve found myself caught up again with how awful the world around me is. This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, there have been more times than I can begin to count when I have fallen into deep depression over how hopeless everything is. This last week I have found myself slipping back into that state of mind again and wanting to bury my head in the sand and pretend I don’t see what is around me.

Timing is everything.

I came across an article about Fr. Daniel Berrigan, an American Jesuit priest, anti-war activist, and poet who died a few weeks ago. The article contained a quote attributed to him – “One cannot level one’s moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something, and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.”

That quote brought back a vivid memory of my mother who highly respected Fr. Berrigan and tried to emulate him in her own way. She was active in the local social justice movement in the Catholic church before she died. I still remember when a letter came in the mail informing her that her bank account was going to be garnished for unpaid taxes. You see for several years my mother deducted the federal tax charge listed on her phone bill before she paid it. She always included a note along with her check explaining she was not paying the federal tax part of her phone bill in protest of defense spending. She was so excited and proud when the letter came, this was an acknowledgment that her voice had been heard. I remember her telling me she was afraid to risk getting arrested protesting the war or nuclear power plants or the School of the Americas, but this was something she could do.

I remember thinking at the time she was being silly. What difference did she possibly think that small gesture could make? I see it differently now and am grateful this memory has come at this time for me. Reminding me small things done with intention, well that’s magic. I am going to pull my head out of the sand and do something. Maybe only one small something, but something.

Yes, sometimes timing is everything.

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3 thoughts on “Timing is everything

  1. Amoret BriarRose May 18, 2016

    One of my favorite quotes:

    “It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either.” – Rabbi Tarfon

    • Elizabeth Wilson May 18, 2016

      I like this one!

  2. Paulita May 18, 2016

    Thank you for sharing this, Elizabeth. (And I appreciate the quote you shared too, Amoret). I’ve been wondering how to re-engage in this way, and I appreciate both the reminder that small and/or focused still matter, and the moral aspect of this responsibility. Grateful. Timing is indeed everything.


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