Name the names

I cannot comprehend the deaths of 100,000 people due to the coronavirus in the United States. Just as I could never comprehend the deaths of millions of people from previous pandemics, natural disasters and wars.

But a count reveals only so much. Memories, gathered from obituaries across the country, help us recon with what is lost.

By the New York Times, May 24, 2020

The New York Times has a moving interactive, drawn from many news sources, that lets us know a little about some of the people who died.

The descriptions of the lives of a thousand people in the United States who died because of the coronavirus were drawn from hundreds of obituaries, news articles and paid death notices that have appeared in newspapers and digital media over the past few months. They have been lightly edited for clarity.

The New York Times, May 24, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/

Seeing the tightly spaced list of the names of the people dead because of the coronavirus above brings to mind another tightly spaced list of names, those who died during the Vietnam War. The power of the Vietnam War Memorial is that it also names the names.


There have been many, too many, occasions when people named the names of those lost or killed. Those killed by racial violence, for example. Or those who died on Sept.11, 2001.

In this photo each student is holding the name, hometown and date of death of an Indiana soldier killed in the Iraq War.

Names of Indiana soldiers killed in the Iraq War.

Many people are writing penetrating things about this tragic milestone. This moving paragraph by Peggy Noonan is the one that has resonated most with me.

People have suffered. They’ve been afraid. The ground on which they stand has shifted. Many have been reviewing their lives, thinking not only of “what’s important” or “what makes me happy” but “what was I designed to do?” They’ve been conducting a kind of internal life review, reflecting on the decision that seemed small and turned out to be crucial, wondering about paths not taken, recognizing strokes of luck. They’ve been thinking about their religious faith or lack of it, about their relationships. Phone calls have been longer, love more easily expressed, its lack more admitted.

A Plainer People In a Plainer Time. As the lockdown forces us to turn inward, we rethink what’s important and what we were meant to do. Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2020

“They’ve been thinking about their religious faith or lack of it…”

I’ve thought a great deal about the spiritual poverty in our country these days. I think we need to recruit Spiritual Warriors in the same manner as soldiers are recruited for war. Train and build armies of Spiritual Warriors. (see more: https://kislingjeff.wordpress.com/?s=spiritual+warrior)

Too many people have let their spiritual lives falter.  I think now is a time when we need to invite more people to work on their spiritual lives.  We seem to be moving into a dark time.  Attention to the Spirit is how we can navigate the future, and stand up to the forces of oppression.

I’m hoping we will continue to see the rise of Spiritual Warriors.  Quakers, Native Americans, you.

Jeff Kisling, Recruiting Spiritual Warriors, Jan. 7,2017
This entry was posted in Native Americans, Quaker, Spiritual Warrior, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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