Monday, October 19, 2009

Through the eyes of one man

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man. Edward Steichen

My eldest daughter gave me the link to an acceptance speech, photographer, James Nachtwey made as the recipient of the Ted Wish Prize in 2007. His speech can be seen, and heard, here. "It's shifted something in me," she said. "You have to watch it." And I did.

In a world filled with wonder, there is war. In a world of mystery, disease ravages entire countries. In a world of abundance, children starve of hunger, die of thirst and cry out for a mother's care. In a world of possibility, where each of us has a voice and the freedom to speak up, there is always hope. We will end war, cure disease, stop starvation.

There is always hope. As long as we do not give up speaking out, speaking up, standing up, standing together, standing strong. As long as those with eyes and ears, and voices continue to write and speak and take photographs and compel us to witness what they have seen and heard and felt so that we too understand. So that we too take action to stop destroying all that is good and great and magnificent about humankind. As long as we open our eyes and our hearts and our minds and do not give up on believing we can make a difference, there is hope.

There is hope.

I encourage you to watch James' speech. It is profound.

I am moved. I am saddened, and I am inspired. To speak up. To give voice to, to stand against and lean into -- hope. I am convinced the only way I can make a difference is to give my best to the world around me.

When I was a little girl I wanted to change the world. Into my teens and then my twenties, I wanted to make a difference. I still do.

I may not have the power to stop war. I may not have the power to change the course of disease raging through a village in far off Africa, but I can make a difference.

Right here. In my world. And in changing my world, in contributing all that is great and magnificent about me to the world around me, I change. And when I change within me, the world outside changes with me. The ripple I create spreads out in continuous waves of hope and love and possibility.

I believe we can change the world when we put down anger and guns and abuse and greed and learn to celebrate all that is magnificent about human kind.

I believe we have the power to change our lives and thus change our world with our ripple effect.
Just for today, I invite you to join me in creating a world of difference. I invite you to live up to your very best, to seek your higher good and contribute all that is magnificent and great about you to the world around you. I invite you to be the ripple effect infecting the world with love, hope, joy and possibilities.

The question is: Are you willing to let go of anger to create peace within you? Are you willing to drop fear to change the world with your courage?

Dead and gone

A mother's child died today
a casualty of life
ended on the battlefield
with one shot
through the heart
bleeding the blood that once
through his mother's veins
from her womb to his breath
he died
for the cause
against tyranny
for the right
to bear arms
to be free
to end war
to stop terrorism
to put food on the table
of the one's he loves.

A mother's child died today
his body wrapped
in the flag
of her confusion
Arms empty
she weeps where
his blood runs
no more.

A mother's child died today
and she cries out
to stop
the right
to kill one another.

ML Gallagher Oct 19,2009

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