Nuns on the Bus? This group of a rotating 14 or so American nuns is on a bus tour of nine states designed to draw attention to the harshness of the U.S. House of Representatives budget bill. I will say they are among my current heros.
Their trip is about making people aware of the proposed cuts in domestic and international hunger and nutrition programs. Frankly, I first heard about it the other night when their spokeswoman, Sister Simone Campbell, appeared on The Stephen Colbert Show. As with most things Colbert, her presentation was brief but enlightening. In another interview, Sister Simone said that the budget bill "all wrapped up in sound bites" would punish struggling people "while benefiting the top 1 percent" with tax cuts that would add to the national debt. "The House budget would decimate our country. It is not in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution."
The tour is being sponsored by NETWORK, which describes itself as a progressive national Catholic social justice lobby. These women care passionately about the marginalized in our country. Most of them, I would venture to say, have given much of their adult life to others. They have devoted
themselves to their God and to the less fortunate people among us. That is why they are my heros. This path requires a heaping portion of unselfishness. People who give fully to others live among my heros. It is something I am not willing to do. I am not willing to set aside my requirements for solitude and silence, my desires for a diverse sort of life, to give all to a cause.
I am humbled by someone like Sr Simone Campbell. For 18 years, she was the lead attorney for Community Law Center in Oakland, CA. There she served the working poor of her county assisting people with family law and probate needs. She also worked with a California Interfaith public policy organization to protect the interests of people who are poor. She went to Iraq in 2002 with a group of religious leaders and has been able to present and write extensively about her experience. She has been the Executive Director of NETWORK since 2004. Clearly, her life has been about peace building and economic justice. I admire her so much.
I want to follow her example but I don't even know where to start. Oh, wait a minute, start from where you are. But that's where it gets tough. To follow her lead, I need to give more of what I have. I need to take precious time away from my solitude, from my reading, writing, family, painting - all those things - and give it to a cause. I could more faithfully participate in the Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center. There are tons of opportunities there to get involved in peace building and campaigns for social justice. I could volunteer weekly with local food pantry. I could even commit to writing one letter a week in support of some cause. But I know, at this point, I won't. I am not going to beat myself up about this. I am simply going to acknowledge my admiration for people such as Sister Simone Campbell. Who knows to what that acknowledgement may lead?