Good Work: It’s Easter, Get Busy

1. Mistakes. We all make them. W.S Merwin said in a toast To Mistakes:

you are the ones I

must have needed

the ones who led me

in spite of all

that was said about you

you placed my footsteps

on the only way

I have several advanced degrees in mistakes. The question is whether we learn something from our mistakes or simply repeat them.  Mistakes should yield wisdom and humility–still working on both.

2. Brokenness. We are all broken. Henri Nouwen said, if “we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.”

3. Hurting cities. We live in cities with a lot of pain. What Rilke said about European cities in the 40’s is still true:

Lord, the great cities are lost and rotting.

There time is running out.

The people there live harsh and heavy,

crowded together, weary of their own routines.

We have created a complicated mess of things on this planet–a set of complex systems we can no longer manage, systems that benefit a relative few.

4. Reconciliation. It’s our job to fix things–the daily tasks of making things new: teach, heal, care, create.  That’s the message of Easter and Passover–it’s time for an extreme makeover, for the ultimate maker faire. Time to get busy.

5. Leadership.  Reconciliation requires leadership. We need to take a stand in favor of those less blessed.

Leadership is immensely difficult on the practical level, but simple emotionally—you must care, and care so deeply that you are not willing to accept present conditions.

6. Hope.  On Easter, I think about a Seamus Heaney poem that concludes:

History says, Don’t hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up,

And hope and history rhyme.

But it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. Nouwen said reconciliation is a “ministry that never ends.”  But our kids that can’t wait and deserve more from all of us.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.