I have great respect and admiration for people who are capable of working on issues and not just talking about them. Talking is fine, especially if you like long ongoing conversations that are full of academic and technical data about the concerns, but in reality you do not have to do anything about them since it is not your responsibility.

I remember having conversations like that at the university when as students we thought we had an answer for everything. Currently when I read some of the comments in the newspapers about immigration, the selling of national assets to foreigners or the war, I am under the impression that we continue to mostly talk especially at lunches and coffee meetings. After that everyone goes home and continues to live a life untouched by whatever the concern was.

In that order of things we can tell people that maybe it is not the right time to ask for driving privileges. Maybe they should wait a year or so until something can be done. Meanwhile the individual is facing the daily task of getting to work, taking children to school and doing his/her shopping. How are they supposed to do this? That is not part of the conversation, unless they decide to stay home until a solution to the transportation problems arrives.

We can also tell the peasants in the countries affected by the trade agreements with US, to wait and see how their respective country is going to improve for them. At the same time we can ask them to give up their land to the agro industry, start buying processed food imported from US and also to start “progressing” by being a good client of US goods such as cars, TV sets, videos and all those appliances that have made people happy in the USA. While that happens in other countries, we can continue to enjoy low subsidized prices on our food and at the same time during supper if you manage to have people interested in conversation at the table, we can talk about the undeveloped countries and how they just do not learn to change their economical circumstances.

Of course we have to realize that some realities do not affect us directly because we keep a rather select circle of friends, church members and interests that constitute our personal world. To a certain extent Narcissus would applaud our attitude. We love whoever is like us. The others are wrong, sinful, dangerous or idiots as the case may be.

Unless we make a conscious effort to relate to people who are not in our circle of influence we can continue to produce wonderful and embellished words and display all our educational background, but transformation both of oneself or the problems is not going to be affected except to worsen.

Problems grow not because of the problem in itself but because of our lack of caring response to them.

In these last times I have seen more and more people involved in small but meaningful conversation and action. I have learned to respect and admire several of them and I know that there is a growing excitement before the problems since they are seen as challenges to be faced with faith, creativity and real concern for one another.

Do not let the train of history leave without you! Join in a meaningful, active dialogue with others!