Friday, May 11, 2007
Carnival of Hope: Volume 1, Number 9
Welcome to the May Carnival of Hope! I've just handed in my spring-semester grades, so I'm one happy professor, looking forward eagerly to summer, even though I have huge mounds of work to do. We don't really get summers off, you know!
And speaking of summer, the next CoH will appear here on Friday, June 8. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, June 7 at 5:00 PM PDT. You can either use the BlogCarnival submission form or e-mail me directly -- SusanPal at aol dot com -- sending me the permalink and a brief description of your post.
By the way, if anybody out there is interested in hosting CoH, please e-mail me! Blog carnivals seem to do better when more people get involved, and I've been hogging this one for a while now.
On to the carnival!
Editor's Pick: My favorite post this month is The Jesus Three, Nurse Ratched's wonderful piece about working as a psychiatric nurse on a ward where no fewer than three patients believed they were Jesus -- and worked together to prove it. She comments, "Maybe angels really do walk among us on psychiatric units," and after you read this story, I think you'll agree.
Religious faith is a recurring theme in this month's posts. Ishtar shares terrible news, along with the trust in God that is carrying her through it, in the heart-wrenching Heartbroken. Ishtar, you and your family will be in my prayers.
Paradoxically, loss often reminds us to be grateful, as Anthony illustrates in his post A Thanksgiving Thought. This story also reminds us to reach out to those we love in tangible ways.
Don West shares how he did just that in his post Carla. Anyone who's ever loved an animal will be touched by this idea! I also really like the "illustrated journal" format of Don's blog.
Many people were saddened by the recent death of Kurt Vonnegut. Jeremy Adam Smith shares his own feelings about Vonnegut, and describes how Vonnegut's work has shaped his approach to life, in So it goes. "God damn it, you've got to be kind." Yes, indeed.
Some tragedies sorely test our abilities to be kind, which makes kindness offered in response even more moving. After the Virginia Tech massacre, I saw an interview with a survivor who expressed forgiveness for the shooter; that interview prompted this post, which ends with another sobering story about people who have chosen love over vengeance. Since I wrote this post, I've been heartened to read that other survivors have expressed great sympathy for Cho's family, and even for Cho himself.
Along the same lines, MysticSaint shares some thought-provoking quotations about love and forgiveness in Manifestation of Love | from the Bowl of Saki. Please note that this is one of those blogs that automatically starts playing music; I'm always badly startled when my computer makes unexpected noises, so if you are too, now you've been warned!
What happened at Virginia Tech was so horrible in part because so many people died. At a certain point, though, large numbers only induce compassion fatigue, as Naazneen Barma discusses in his fascinating post Compassion is Not in the Numbers. I was particularly interested in this piece because I know Paul Slovic's son, who's a professor in my department. Small world!
If stories about individuals are most likely to move us to compassion, though, there's still no doubt that collective action can achieve wonders -- and that being with many other people who are working for positive change can do a lot to lift the spirits. Riversider, whose blog is devoted to saving the River Ribble in the north of England, tells us about a most heartening Mayday gathering, and includes photos.
And finally, on a somewhat lighter note, Brandon Peele shares his amusing memories of A Week with Sai Maa. Although the week indeed wound up being very transformative for him, he struggled with his self-confessed dislike of the "knuckleheads" who cluster around leaders. This story just goes to show that you don't have to like all of the other students to benefit from an inspired teacher.
That's it for this month, but have a very merry May, and please come back in June!