Friday, February 6, 2009

The book claims...

"Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power."

And yet within its covers I find this observation, which could seem contradictory to the claim of seizing and holding power: "a prudent man must always tread the path of great men and imitate those who have excelled."*

This could lead us in a couple of directions: judging a book by its cover or taking words out of context. For me, everything is context. The books we read, the people we meet, the situations we find ourselves in, all allow us the opportunity to provide context. We decide how to respond, how we can bring good to the surface.

At Manna, I witness it nearly every day. Too many people show up to volunteer, so we scramble to find a way to engage everyone so they have a sense of contributing. A guest arrives who has not bathed recently, and we discreetly turn on the ceiling fan and open a window. We deny financial aid to a client and they become angry; still, we tell them they are welcome to share a meal with us now and take groceries home with them.

Sometimes we stumble, but we remind ourselves that no matter what the book or situation claims, we set the context.

* from The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

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