Recently,I have been reading The Cathedral Within: Transforming Your Life by Giving Something Back by Bill Shore. Shore finds meaning in working to improve the lives of children in America, a task so substantial he will never truly finish. He compares a life lived for others to building the great cathedrals, and cites a need for not just the contribution of "experts and artisans" but of everyone in the community.
Shore points to the importance of the foundations that support the continued labor of craftsmen yet to come. He notes details built into each nook and cranny of the cathedrals which illustrate the values and stories of the culture. Those stories and values which hold the greatest meaning for Shore focus on improving the lot of children. He believes, "The aspiration to be part of something bigger and more lasting than ourselves is universal in human nature."
The Cathedral Within is filled with wonderful quotes which I share interspersed among photos of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France. Built in the Gothic style, Sainte-Chapelle was the royal chapel in medieval times. Though often in attendance, kings would sit unseen in an area separated from the main congregation viewing the service through an open window.
"So many of us in life start out building temples: temples of character, temples of justice, temples of peace. At so many points we start, we try, we set out to build our various temples. And I guess that one of the great agonies of life is that we are constantly trying to finish that which is unfinishable. "
"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. All it takes is a heart full of grace, and a soul that generates love."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"Our overriding goal ought to be to save the children. Other goals are all worthy, but they should be secondary to the goal of improving the life prospects of the next generation."
William Julius Wilson
"Nothing is more cost effective than early intervention. As a society, we spend decades paying for programs designed to compensate for a few months of neglect. Put the necessary resources into the right time and place at the very start, and the healthy bodies and minds that result will pay dividends for a lifetime."
(Speaking of both a two-year-old and twelve-year-old) "They are not finished. Nor are we. They can not survive on their own. They need us whether they look like it or not, and that need persists through every stage of the journey--not just the major crossroads, but for the whole ride."
" A child's development demands... the patience and commitment of the cathedral builders who laid brick on infinite brick. We must repeat, repeat, reinforce, and repeat again.
In War and Peace, General Kutuzov counsels that all battles are won through "time and patience, patience and time". They are different sides of the same coin, and when it comes to raising children, this indeed is the coin of the realm."
(Speaking of underground Dutch photographers who recorded the horrific starvation of Jews during the Holocaust) "They had no money, no weapons, no legal right to conduct their work, but they had the power to bear witness, as do we all, and they had the courage to use it."
"Whether we are rich or poor, black or white, educated or unskilled, each of us has at least the strength to do one personal but profound thing: bear witness to a common vision of what decency and humanity can mean."
"You may wonder if it is guaranteed that committing yourself to the task will change our country and their lives. It is not, but it is guaranteed to change yours."