Growing up in the ’60s was an adventure, especially in San Francisco. I can always remember the days of Camelot with names like the Kennedys, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.
One name that comes at me out of the past is that of Sargent Shriver. He was lesser known to most because the Kennedy clan was so large and charismatic, but in his own right he was an enormous person.
His good looks, his charismatic style, his deep faith and his boundless energy made him an astonishing leader. Even in the shadow of the Kennedy legacy he was a giant of his times.
He was known most for starting the Peace Corps through which thousands of young Americans were sent around the world to become involved in the lives of people of other nations. The Peace Corps continues today.
He is also responsible for the “War on Poverty” under the Johnson administration. His involvement stretched far and wide into a world of action. He just didn’t talk about things; he made them happen.
I was struck by something that I learned in the days since his recent death.
An article in The New York Times reported that he told the 1994 graduating students at Yale to “break mirrors.”
“Yes, indeed,” he said, “Shatter the glass. In our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own.”
That’s good advice. Too often in our preoccupied, self-absorbed universe we don’t have time to notice others. In some ways it echoes Jesus’ words found in Matthew 16:25 where he tells his hearers that they should lose their life to discover what life is all about.
On January 20, we observed the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address in which he noted that the torch had been passed to a new generation.
That same torch of selfless service, giving and caring beyond one’s own life, still rings true to this and every generation. Perhaps it’s time to break a few mirrors again.
Find a link to Marvin Henk’s blog Reflections at Lutheran Blogs.