“Camp Casey” was a gathering place some years back for the peace movement in Texas. We had gathered to deliver a letter to President Bush asking him to end the war in Iraq. On the march to deliver the letter I was walking with a woman who had lost a son in the war. I will never forget how heavily she leaned on me as we walked. She said that some days she was so sad she didn’t think she could get up and get dressed. Then she said, “when I do something, anything, I feel better.”
As a preacher, I’ve noticed over the years that congregants who find sermons on social justice tiring and depressing are usually already tired and depressed when they get to church. But, they are not tired for the reason they suppose. Generally, the people who least want to hear about the world’s problems in church, are also the ones who are doing the least to make a difference outside of church. I believe their lack of commitment causes their lack of energy, not the other way around as they assume.
Never assume the life of an activist is a burden. It is apathy that is the burden. It is the activist’s vision of a better world that gives them energy to go on. They do not carry the world on their shoulders as it would appear. Acting on their highest vision is what carries them.
It is not compassion that drains our will to live, it is our willingness to live selfish little lives. As soon as we arise in resistance on behalf of our brothers and sisters, we remember our power, we remember our nobility, we remember the greatest joy of all is human solidarity.
Jim- we helped run the kitchen for most of the Camp Casey gatherings. It was one of the most exhilarating, rewarding, frustrating, and exhausting experiences of my life and I made wonderful friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. We got a private impromptu lecture from Dr. Ellesberg one night and met leaders like Rev. Yearwood and Rev. Lowry and countless ‘little’ guys like us that were trying to affect change. What’s fatal to the soul is NOT doing anything and feeling powerless, alone and beaten.
Jane, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing that. We probably saw each other but didn’t know our paths would cross again. Small world.
If you ate, we ran into each other. My experiences in the kitchen at the Crawford Peace House and Camp Casey were a large part of why we decided to become full-time farmers. I realized that there are few things as magical and sacred as feeding people good food. To me, it is the essence of community.
I did eat and I remember the food was delicious.