Listening to the radio yet again, this time while re-potting some seedlings, I happened across Democracy Now, and between horrific accounts of the continued torture of prisoners in Guantano Bay under the Obama administration, I heard the moving commencement speech that soul singer John Legend gave at the University of Pennsylvania, College of Arts and Sciences last Sunday.
It’s not the same experience to read the words as it was to hear them, but here are a few nuggets anyway:
I would say that a commitment to truth requires a commitment to social justice.
When we develop a sense of empathy, when we become listeners, when we become witnesses to the truth, it requires that we turn down some of the noise and clutter of OUR daily lives and stop to think about the way OTHERS live.
Searching for truth is in many ways the same as searching for your soul.
His words spoke to the way I feel. The older I get the less able I am to sit or stand by when I am hearing a perpetuation of an untruth. I know that truth is relative, but what I am getting tired of is the glossing over of truths that we don’t want to bear witness to. I’m tired of the amount of attention paid to trivial, meaningless distractions when there are real people suffering and real wrongs being committed.
I feel like I’m slowly shifting gears, slowly getting ready to find ways to do meaningful work outside of my own little family, thinking of where I can best effect change.