Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The tugboat

It was only a little boat, a tug, chugging along the waters of the River Thames. Compared with the beautifully painted pleasure boats, the tug was very small and insignificant. Yet, as it emerged from underneath the bridge, so did three barges, each carrying ten heavy industrial containers. They must have weighed many tons and yet one little boat was able to pull them along, guiding them in its own path. The heavy burden did not faze the tug, nor was the presence of the larger boats in any way daunting. It simply continued upstream.

Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes ‘the power of one’ that can make a difference?

Without a spark, there is no fire. Without a raindrop, there is no rain, no waterfall, no river.

It only takes one person to create a little pool of goodness…Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Marie Curie… Where one led, others followed.

During this season of Lent, am I like the little tugboat? Do I lead others, perhaps bigger and more important in the eyes of the world, to a place that is more full of hope? Do I show them that life is worth living? Am I overawed by ‘bigger’ people and immobilised in the stream of life, or am I able to take a deep breath and carry on regardless?

Glancing through a booklet of Lenten reflections the other day, I read that the famous Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, when a prisoner in Auschwitz, was forced to give food to his Nazi captors whilst naked and on his knees: yet he could forgive them for the indignity and humiliation inflicted upon himself. I am not sure that I could have followed his example. His was the goodness that showed the world that ‘the power of one’ is sometimes able to set an example for the rest of time.

Does my littleness shine in the darkness?

God bless,
Sr. Janet