Culture At Large

Oh, Those Things We Should Have Done

Chris Salzman

Ever been presented with an opportunity that you just kept putting off until it was too late? Check out this post from Emerging Women:

Another place where Looking for God calls us to act, instead of talk about beliefs and consider potential actions is in her [Nancy Ortberg's] story about when Shane Claiborne visited her church and asked everyone to give up their shoes so he could distribute them to homeless people that evening. Her co-worker clarified the invitation: "Shane is not telling you to go home and then next week bring back a pair of shoes to donate; he is saying right now." (79)

[A quick aside: an old friend of mine was at this service and said it was beyond inspiring to see people walking away barefoot.]

I appreciated Nancy's chapter on CouldaWouldaShoulda, in which she tells a heartbreaking story about a woman with little money, two kids facing terminal illness and a husband who just left and what Nancy almost did to organize assistance and blessing for this family. A spirit-fire brainstorm of inspiration didn't become incarnation, because the list with all the ideas kept getting shuffled and covered with other papers and priorities until it got thrown out and the vision lost. I could so identify! I have so many wishes to be a conduit of grace and so often inspiration turns into procrastination that trails off into...nothing but lost good intentions that breed a feeling of guilt and paralysis. I wonder, is our habit of forgetting to act while our intention is fresh off the press a piece of what feeds our cynicism, our gnawing suspicion that we can't make an important difference in other's lives or the world?

Recently there was an organization that I wanted to give money to. The money and means was in place, I just needed to take thirty seconds to do it. Well, I missed the deadline. Luckily, I was still able to give past the deadline, but nagging stress was wearing.

Do you have any stories like the one from Nancy Ortberg's book? Any situations where you should have acted but didn't?

Other thoughts?

Topics: Culture At Large, News & Politics, Media