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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Marks of Weakness, Marks of Woe

Last Friday as I went about Seattle's streets doing my errands and thinking of my personal problems and our societal ills I ran into a friend going to coffee with someone else.  The three of us fell into a brief conversation, and I talked about my job search and about the circumstances that may lead to a foreclosure on my sister's home in San Jose.  The man I had just met spoke about how he had lost his home in Burien five years ago.  We talked about how widespread unemployment and home foreclosure are right now.

After they left and I continued on my way I looked around and saw how many people out on the streets looked beaten down. For some reason lines from Blake's poem London came to me:

I wandered through each chartered street
Near where the charted Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

Maybe it's just important that we all recognize how widespread suffering is, and be able to see the marks of weakness, the marks of woe in others.  We will never be totally free of wide spread suffering regardless of what social measures we take.  We must respond to suffering with every means at our disposal, but we must also recognize that we are outside the Gates of Eden.

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