Step by step the longest march
can be won, can be won
Many stones can form an arch,
singly none, singly none
And by union what we will
can be accomplished still
Drops of water turn a mill,
singly none singly none
Pete Seeger, I think, wrote the words of the traditional song above. It speaks of the potential of community.
I ache for community, yet I am frustrated because of it. To approach corporateness, to assume responsibility and liability for one another, causes a reaction in so many. We are infected with the disease of individualism.
I have it, too. In my frustration with our diffused lives and resistant hearts I would like to withdraw to my backyard office and follow my own pursuits, free of the burden of people’s reluctance and unconcerned for the the challenge of forging partnerships.
A contradiction. Moreover, how can one accomplish what only many can do? Two ways of facing the needs of a declining society, three if you count inaction:
- Become overwhelmed as we try to face the needs alone, armed only with individualism and good intentions.
- The other is as a community, if one can be found.
If we face the challenges as an individual, the beggar bleeds us and remains a beggar still. As a community, the beggar belongs and learns to become part of the whole, or if he clings to his own individualism, leaves and bears the weight of his poverty and full responsibility for it.
The responsibility for the sick, the poor, and the outcast; the widow and the orphan, is more bulk than can be born on the back of one or two. Clusters of followers may stand under the burden of love where one would buckle under the weight.
Happy New Year! The challenge yet lies before those of us who would walk between the worlds.