There’s a prayer composed by the late Roman Catholic Bishop Ken Untener that was inspired by the martyred archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero. The prayer begins with “It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.”
Taking the long view – seeing the beyond of something – is a way of returning hope to our interpretation of the data. It’s no coincidence that, on the one hand, Romero condemned injustice and spoke out against political oppression – and was assassinated for it; and, on the other hand, a similar assessment was spoken by the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., who said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is those who know better than to expect immediate results who learn to take a longer view.
Expecting immediate results is the territory of privilege. When even those with privilege cannot have things their own way, there is always the possibility of learning to see the way most of the world sees.
When expectation wanes, we learn to hope.
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