Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Life of Meaning

        Tell me the facts and I’ll learn
        Tell me the truth and I’ll
        Tell me your story and I’ll remember it forever.
Recently Valarie Kaur, a U.S. citizen living in California, with ancestry from India, spoke to our college/university community.  Her message was directed to the millennials: “What does choosing a life of meaning over a life of comfort mean for you?”  

We were mesmerized by this beautiful, pregnant woman who, in her sophomore year in college, had chosen a life of meaning rather than a life of comfort.  Her story started with her having  watched the horrors of 9/11, watched the horrendous  killing of people-- who looked like herself-- by Americans who did not know how to stop their hatred of the “perpetrators” in that destructive sequence of events.  She felt the urgency of choice within herself: would she go to help the victims? Or would she choose to stay in her comfort zone?  This would-be journalist, age 20, chose to leave her home, drive across country to New York, where the scenes and stories of violence broke her heart and  broke it open so that she simply had to share the sorrow of those in unutterable pain.  Shared sorrow was her choice. . . and in that choice, she found her life’s meaning.  In her life’s work,  she tells stories, one after another of other courageous women and men who, like herself, have also found their meaning within the choices they have made.  “Choice,” she says, “is a privilege and, if we are opting for meaning, we need to make good choices many times every day. The heart is a muscle and we keep exercising it.  With this practice and the support of community, we will find the courage to make the bigger decision.” There was no hesitancy in her as she witnessed to the cost and dangers in making the decision to choose a life of meaning over a life of comfort.  It is possible to do something but the work of justice is hard: higher than the truth is living out the truth,” she says. Having chosen a life of meaning over a life of choice, Valarie Kaur is able to “see no strangers now because WE ARE ALL ONE.”  Thank you, Valarie!

Renee Domeier, OSB

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