Sunday, April 4, 2010
Appropriate words for this day of Easter is Mary Oliver's conclusive lines of The Journey:
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.
The first time I heard the in-flight safety announcements with a baby in my arms, I was not just startled, I was upset, agitated, stunned! “In case the cabin pressure changes, panels above your heads will open, revealing oxygen masks. Be sure to secure your own mask before helping others, including your children.” What? Securing myself before my child?
According to tiger mom instincts, the order of priority is totally contrary. I would rather die than......hmmm....wait a minute....If I’m dead from oxygen deficiency, who’s then to.....
You get the picture. As I did. Eventually.
Mary Oliver’s words carry a message not obvious at first glance. Save yourself might seem harsh and selfish. Yet, is there any other way? Does not Gandhi point towards the same when he urges us to be the very change we want to see in the world?
Then there are the biblical words of Paul - “Love other people as well as you do yourself.” The stress surely is on the latter part of the sentence - for can you really love your neighbor if you have no heart for yourself?