Friday, January 13, 2012

In an alternate universe...

Here in the US there is a vast and growing gulf between rich and poor. According to one political party the rich are "job creators".  But then if that's the case, a significant part of the American social fabric has been failing at its job. Money itself knows no patriotism, no debt of loyalty nor sense of responsibility to nation nor community. And while we may celebrate money above all other things, there are values beyond money that in an alternate universe, we would consider as well.

Last night I joined members of the Eureka Springs UU church in serving dinner at ECHO, a volunteer healthcare organization designed to serve the poor and those many who cannot afford health care. Echo operates every 2nd and 4th Thursday night of the year. It is staffed by volunteers including many of the best health care workers in the community who use it as an opportunity to give something extra back and fulfill a sense of duty to the foundation of community. Would it not be wise, if all so gifted were to act on their own sense of responsibility to give back? It is claimed that the rich are holding back in the employment of the poor because we have not made things lucrative enough. But enough! Aren't there greater things at stake? And better examples of who and what we might become?

Sadly, a nation untrained in craftsmanship fails to perceive the uplifting social effects of craftsmanship.

Yesterday my daughter and I ate at the Oasis, a small restaurant in the heart of downtown Eureka Springs. There are those who walk in, and thinking themselves as having arrived in a 3rd world nation by mistake, will turn around and walk out. But the Oasis is actually one of the finest restaurants in the US in near perfect disguise. My daughter, having spent 4 years in New York will rank the Oasis as one of the top restaurants in her rather broad dining experience. But part of the appeal of the place is not just its food, but that it is at the heart of the community experience.

When we wander into the world without roots, we miss the depths. In my alternate proposed universe of community and craftsmanship, our eyes are opened to other things. Beyond money charted on spreadsheets, there are people putting people to work doing their finest.  I can hardly explain to those who have not lived in Eureka Springs or someplace like it, how being a part of such a place, being woven into the fabric of community, feels and what it means. I have been so lucky. And in these first days of 2012, I wish the same for you.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

E. Pennebaker said...

Yes, eat at the Oasis, a great dining experience.

Last night I got a call from the local (Alpena) high school science teacher asking for help sponsoring the science fair. Even though my daughter has been out of school for almost 9 years now I was glad to help support an academic program that is run by a fine teacher. So much money goes to sports and it is sad that the academics have to ask for outside support.