Today there seems to be a whisper of promise in the world. The sun has returned after the torrential rain and thunder of yesterday and the birds are conversing in quiet tones outside. Fog is lifting – inside and out. There is a sense of possibility, a hope for return to civility on the heels of charges brought against the four policemen involved in the death of George Floyd. We are, perhaps, at the beginning of a new moment of what will be a long awakening. Our task now is to recognize and acknowledge the situation in which we stand.
I am often taken by the messages of Brian Johnson on his daily website offering: optimize.me and today I found his words and those he quoted from President John F. Kennedy particularly appropriate. The occasion was the graduation ceremony at the University of California at Berkeley in 1962. I offer it in gratitude for Brian Johnson, for the hope that is in me and perhaps for the stirring again in many of us, allowing a desire for reparation and a new birth.
Kennedy speaks: “‘Knowledge is the great sun of the firmament,’ said Senator Daniel Webster. ‘Life and power are scattered with all its beams.”‘ “In its light we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, ‘In that case there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon.‘”
Kennedy wrapped up his speech by saying: “Today a world of knowledge – a world of cooperation – just and lasting peace – may be years away. But we have no time to lose. Let us plant our trees this afternoon.”