Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Two brief thoughts about planning and trust

Laurie Penny wrote for Wired in March 2020:

You can’t fight an epidemic just by being aggressively right about it...Shaming and blaming people...sometimes works in the long term, when people have had time to go away and think about it and calm down. We don't have that time right now. We have to be gentle with each other. We have to practice trust. Because right now and in the decades to come, our biggest problems as a species are going to be the problems we can't solve without trusting each other to do the right thing.

Years ago, Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote:

Along with trust there must be gratitude — the opposite of resentment. Resentment and gratitude cannot coexist, since resentment blocks the perception ad experience of life as a gift. My resentment tells me that I don’t receive what I deserve. It always manifests itself in envy.

Gratitude, however, goes beyond the 'mine' and 'thine' and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.


Laurie Penny. "Panic, Pandemic, and the Body Politic." Wired. March 14, 2020.

Henri J. M. Nouwen. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. New York: Doubleday, 1992. p. 85.

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