Greetings—without fear

They're heard among acquaintances who pass on the street. We read them on notes attached to the refrigerator: "Hi! I'm at ... I'll be back for dinner!" They arrive in letters and on colorful Christmas cards. Often there's more sentiment than substance in the language of everyday greetings. And yet something sweet does come across in those quickly scribbled notes or the cheery wave of a friend. They tell us that relations are warm; that our lives are in order.

Not all greetings, though, are as easy or as comfortable. Attending a social gathering, for instance, and seeing many unfamiliar faces; joining an organization; entering a new class at school. Encounters like these take place every day and can seem trivial in the shadow of larger, more troubling events throughout the world. Still, how we respond to uncomfortable or disturbing situations of a smaller nature can teach us something of the best way to respond to large-scale troubles as well.

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FROM HAND TO HAND
December 21, 1992
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