Brain asks Pinky, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” My answer, though not as vapidly resonating as Pinky’s, is, “I think so, Brain…But can we really think globally and act locally to save the world without wearing capes?”
Welcome to my ponderings, happily nestled in this week’s leafings of the Weekly. Across the mending walls of nations, waters and time, the news in all its forms is the attempt of public education. Just as my opening attempts to withdraw snickers, the Sunday paper is splashed with colorful comics. The funnies are also neighbors to headlines of all shapes and colors. I often feel pressured to read up on current events via the newspaper or internet or read Moyers on Democracy, by Bill Moyers. My lifestyle in quaint St. Peter causes me to question the efficacy of reading the New York Times instead of reading the St. Peter Herald or the Weekly.
Anyone remember Grover do the “Near…FAR!” skit on Sesame Street? Sometimes we get caught up in the two F-words: Future and Far. As far as the Far goes, compassion towards individuals and societies abroad is meritorious, and gives needed insight. Walking and living with people abroad through the Peace Corps and Gustavus’ study abroad programs are ways to do that, but until then, I do my best to concentrate on neighbors and goings-on nearby.
In growing into myself, spending time in the Near is my own creative experiment. Sundays during college are days to connect with my new St. Peter community outside Gustavus. To catch up with my various communities at home and across the nation, I read part of that Moyers book, then scan the Times, read YES! Magazine and listen in on BBC world news, if possible. Usually, after worshipping down in St. Peter, I adventure to the Co-Op for some organic and locally produced food and get to know the lively bunch that run it so comfortably. As I’m from a sprawling city in Colorado, I’m enjoying becoming a part of the close community St. Peter.
As you hold this article, crinkling like the daily news did in your grandfather’s fingers, take heart in what is going on around you. Peal open The Weekly, the Harald, or Firethorne, to become acquainted with the goings on about you. Orientation at Gustavus includes a vocab list to help you adjust. Broaden your vocabulary of the community you make for yourself. For these four years, we’ve chosen Gustavus. The seeds we plant here—the friendships, habits, hobbies, passions, hopes—are what Gustie Susan Kranz calls “stepping stones,” life-giving experiences to nourish the person we are becoming. We don’t need to be fully informed to act, but we can begin by simply planting and nourishing the seeds of hope in each season of Gustavus.
This day, be compassionate people of the world, starting with what is closest to you. In chapel this week, several parables illustrated our lives as seeds, full of potential and life. Our current creative little seeds of life are sprouting and outstretching like trees, even in the frosty winter. The growth and result (the “Far and Future”) is up to us and our creator.
Rev. C.T. Vivian encouraged us to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. and continue to live creatively in our own time. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must use time creatively with the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right!”