Mending the Waters

Having recently been diagnosed with a rare and troubling medical condition-

Having recently been diagnosed with a rare and troubling medical condition—late-onset maturity—it has become unavoidable that I begin to take the world and its woes more seriously.

The coming election, the war, and the painful issues that are dividing our nation are no longer things that I can ignore by simply crawling under my desk, despite the fact that, in doing so, I found my guitar capo. (I had dropped it recently while playing a Neil Diamond song for the pleasure of colleagues passing in the hall, even though none of them stopped to listen. One of the sad ironies of middle age is that, after I finally learned how to play the hits of the ’60s, nobody wants me to.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one to shun controversy. I have always been a passionate observer of life, but mainly by peeking from behind the door of the janitor’s closet down the hall. Now that the world calls out to me—and a court order says I can’t peek out at people from the janitor’s closet anymore—it’s time for me to enter the fray.

This will not be an easy task for me. Take the war, for example, a controversy that has caused a chasm not seen in this country since Charlton Heston dressed up as Moses and commanded the waters to part. (Actually, at the time he was commanding a neutral blue background to part. Technicians added the real water later, when Mr. Heston was safely out of the studio.) Much of the nation is against the war, and the rest—which is to say, mainly Florida, which gets to vote twice, I think—is for it. What is needed—and this is where I come in—is a voice of reason in this tempest of division. In the crucible of public debate, I will be the pestle. Or maybe it’s the mortar. Whatever.

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Sojourners Magazine June 2004
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