A window large enough to walk through

We were talking about economic and cultural development in Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood known for its ethnic diversity and full gospel churches. Eventually she began to tell me her inner story, what makes her turn outward to help a whole community.

"Every single job I've done," she said, "it has been in the back of my mind to be of service to someone. . . . You may see a drug transaction or something that's very depressing . . . but you come back and say . . . let me continue to do the work I need to do to be a force for change." A pretty good life-prayer, and one that's lived.

This civic activist reminded me of a line from St. Paul's second letter to the Christians at Corinth: "We may be knocked down but we are never knocked out!" (II Cor.4:9). Paul's life story is totally real to me. Living our words in order to prove them true never goes out of style. We may be taken down many times, by disappointments and our own thorns in the side. But it's the force for change within everyone that enables us to bounce back, to be made a new person, to seize the day.

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June 3, 2002

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