As the new year begins, now is the traditional time for all of us to renew our minds, body and spirit with resolutions of how we will better ourselves in all three areas, many of which will be either broken or forgotten by Valentine's Day. Such is the nature of the human condition, and I do not exclude myself. However, thanks to one of my resolutions I was treated to an inspiring lesson in yesterday morning's Sunday school program which I would like to share.
The basic thesis of this first of a five-part series centered on the question "What legacy do you wish to leave the world", based on the recently published book ILL FARES THE LAND by Tony Judt. Embedded in that question and much less obvious is the notion of do others really even notice or care what we do? Years ago I heard a speech by one of Little Rock's most prominent citizens in which he approached that very question from a different angle by asking is it really in one's best interest to actually say "I really don't care what people think about me" as a response to his or her public conduct? His point was that you should care, as it is impossible to know for sure who might look upon you as a role model and be strongly influenced by your words or actions. In effect we all create a legacy whether we know it or not, so what we say and do should reflect a degree of high moral character and integrity.
Today's lesson then used a Baccalaureate Address by Bill Moyers to the students of Hamilton College on May 20, 2006, as the perfect setting in which to explore the concept of "legacy" since most such speeches focus on what one generation passes on to another. In short, it began with an apology for ".....the mess you are inheriting" including "....the war in Iraq, ....huge debts, ....the polarized country, the corporate scandals, the corrupt politics, our imperiled democracy, ....sprawl and our addiction to oil, and ....toxins in the environment". His admonition after posing that list of what was wrong with America was "Good luck in cleaning it up".
However, thankfully, his message did not end there. Instead, as you would expect Bill Moyers to do, he re-focused that Class of 2006 on the positive ways they could "....respond to the dissonance in our culture, the rivalry between beauty and bestiality in the world, and the conflicts in your own soul" by quoting Albert Camus' feeling about that conflict between beauty and humiliation in the world who noted that "....we have to strive, hard as it is, not to be unfaithful....in the presence of one or the other". Mr. Moyers concluded his message by relating his favorite story about Shalom Aleicheim and his "passing of the bread". To get the full flavor of this story, read about it as contained in his speech at http://www.hamilton.edu/documents//commencement/moyers.PDF.
Another way to convey the essence of my message on this beginning of 2011 is best expressed by the recurring verse from that wonderful hymn which was used to close our lesson "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me". Happy New Year!
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://email@example.com
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Sandy Hubler Fine Art at http://sandyhublerfineart.com
George Wittenberg at http://postcard-art-gallery.com
Will Barnet at http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&expIds=17259,17315,23628,23670,24472,25834,26095,26328,26562,26637,26761,26790,26849,26992,27095,27126,27139,27147,27178&sugexp=ldymls&xhr=t&q=will+barnet&cp=9&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=xpfETMT1O4L6lwf66ugE&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CEkQsAQwAQ&biw=1350&bih=501
Barry Thomas at http://barrythomasart.com
Sherry Williamson at http://meowbarkart.com
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com
Red Door Gallery at http://reddoorgalleryonline.com
M2 Gallery at http://m2lr.com
UALR Gallery Program at http://ualr.edu/art
Gallery 26 at http://gallery26.com
Boswell Mourot Fine Art at http://boswellmourot.com