Monday, November 3, 2008

The change I need

As I’ve mentioned before, election seasons make me depressed, and it took a lot of thought for me to decide even to register this year. I had no intention this week of adding to the clamor, but this morning I was given a word from an old friend that I couldn’t resist posting on my listening-blog.

Benedict just called me this morning from the small city where he still struggles to pay bills after his years on the streets. As we caught up on the events of each other’s lives and I heard of his up-hill struggle to pull a respectable life together, he interjected at some point,

“Guess what I did this week? I voted!”

“Benedict, that’s great!” I responded like a good American. “When was the last time you voted?”

“Would you believe,” the Vietnam vet in his 50s answered, “never?”

“Wow...” I began, but struggled to find words to continue. Benedict has grown up in this country, gone to war for this country, lived on the streets of this country, gone to jail in the country, and his just voted for the first time. “What made you decide to vote this time around?”

“Well, it was all this rhetoric of change,” he began, and I prepared myself to hear details of a platform. But that is not Benedict’s way. “It seems to me that they are right; it is a time for a change. I need to change. The change I need is me.”

Benedict may have just redeemed this election season for me. After months of hearing about how the country needs to change and we are the ones who need to do it, a man I met on a cold night when he was homeless spoke one sentence out of his humility that feels more powerful than the speeches of politicians. A man who cannot find a place at any of the local churches he visits spoke into my life from a fundamentally Christian posture that puts my alternating attributes of cynicism and idealism to shame.

I need to change. The change I need is me.

1 comment:

TwoSquareMeals said...

Amen, Benedict. The sooner we realize that it is up to us, not the politicians, the better off we all are. Ultimately, whoever is President does not matter as much as the state of my soul.