Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
With best wishes for a hopeful, purposeful, and joyful 2022, as we work toward a better future.
Wise people know how to find some joy even in the midst of what is hard.
Ensuring that our stories include a sense of humanity can help us in these turbulent times.
Look not at what stands between us but at what stands before us. Look to what matters.
I recently dove into two books on aging. It wasn’t because I felt old, aged, infirmed, or any of those descriptors we often use when talking about the elderly. However, I can read a calendar, and I recognize that I can’t claim to be middle age when no one lives to be 130 years old.* My study began just as the global pandemic struck, with the coronavirus focusing so much of its potency on the vulnerable and those 60 years of age and older. I finished the second book as the nation roiled from both the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and the injustice that was highlighted in the grotesque and brutal deaths of black men, women, and children at the hands of the police. Whether I liked it or not, I was forced to think about aging in a time of turmoil. Talk about your inauspicious timing. In light of current events, I quipped to some friends that these book choices could be interpreted as: a sign of naiveté, a sign of …
Wisdom includes meaningful self-knowledge as well as an important outward-facing impact that translates into action.
With instant communication and connections, one can travel the globe and still face issues from home. We may try to block them out, but they come up in conversations in other countries. In feeds on social media. During sermons.* Even in a toy display in a store window! I’ve been reminded again during my travels that in today’s global world, there are many national issues with international ramifications. Thomas Fingar — the Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, and former Assistant Secretary of State — lectured on the Japan / Korea / China / United States relationships during the Asian portion of my current trip. Fingar provided a realistic and sometimes sobering assessment of future difficulties (many self-inflicted) as we were visiting sites of great beauty and centuries-old history. A few days later I arrived in the U.K. as Prime Minister Theresa May was resigning and the airways were filled with commentary (some from the current resident of the White …
How often do we give advice when simply presence and acknowledgement is required?
This week at the National Trust, we are preparing to host the 2017 PastForward national preservation conference in Chicago. Long-time colleagues and new friends who care about the past and the places that bring that past into the present will gather from all across the country. I suspect that we’ll share thoughts that challenge the conventional wisdom, offer support for a broader understanding of the American story, and come away with a new appreciation for the work that takes place by preservationists and by those who don’t (yet) identify as preservationists. Why do these people gathering this week in Chicago care about the past? And what’s with that name, PastForward? In a recent conversation that included Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, (The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family), journalist and author Krista Tippett summed up the answer to those questions with her opening line: “In life, in families, we shine a light on the past to live more abundantly now.” I think that’s a great summation of why so many of us will gather this …