Thursday, July 12, 2012

Whole-person Stakeholders

 I doubt there’s a better way to celebrate our independence than to reflect on our fight for the basic human rights of those still lack them.  It’s what our forefathers would have wanted, right?

I spent the holiday with dear friends doing the typical, but we also paid a visit to a local art museum here in Boston.  Boston has wonderful musuems of course, but I was rendered speechless in particular by a postmodern Colombian sculpture. The sculptor had painstakingly cut out sections of the wall’s plaster, and in the holes, placed shoes of women who had been either trafficked or abducted in the Drug War.  Some shoes were stylish, others were simple, some well worn, others seemed almost new.  The artist had then covered the holes displaying the shoes with translucent cow’s bladder, attaching it to the wall with sutures that are used in autopsies.

It was indeed jarring and grotesque.  I watched people shift their weight and look at each other uncomfortably.  When my turn came, my stomach was in knots as I looked through the cow bladder, and imagined each of the nameless women who once wore those shoes--each pair having belonged to somebody’s daughter, sister, wife, mother.  In a war such as the one raged by cartels, women who are abducted are pitied and then collectively considered inevitable casualties.  The term “collateral damage” is applied, sanitizing their plight, giving society an out, that is, the contention—the lie—that nothing can be done.

I hate that many non-profits and churches are infamous for asking for financial donations.  Don’t get me wrong, money does make the world go round, but the reality is that being a donor—a partner—can be so much more than that.  Since we all have many different gifts and resources, the possibilities are limitless.  For this sculptor, it meant sculpting.  For a writer, it may mean picking up their pen for the cause.  For the speaker, a speech or sermon.  For the person of faith, maybe it means prayer.  For the social butterfly, planning an event or using networking skills to get the word out.

Whatever it is, at the end of the day, if our aim is to be a whole-person safe house, it's only logical that we think ourselves as whole-person stakeholders as well, that our love for others would revolutionize our whole lives, not just our finances.

--Katherine H.


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