“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” Thus spoke Heschel in a moment of profound awareness of the goodness of life. I wonder at times whether this quote speaks truth. Yet, Abraham Joshua Heschel after coming to the United States wrote this after seeing several of his family members killed in concentration camps and in the Nazi Occupation: “If I should go to Poland or Germany, every stone, every tree would remind me of contempt, hatred, murder, of children killed, of mothers burned alive, of human beings asphyxiated.” The human spirit is so much more powerful and competent than one likes to admit.
Just this morning in my nonviolence classes with the children we walked in procession with Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sadako, Mother Theresa, Bishop Romero, and Jimmy Carter, and it occurred to me that the same “stuff” that was inside of each of these great giants who were marching with us was inside of each of these kids. I asked the children to “STOP!” in procession. “CLOSE YOUR EYES and say “YES, I BELIEVE IT. I HAVE THE SAME COURAGE, ENDURANCE, POWER TO DO GOOD AS THESE FOLKS DID.”