It was with sadness that I read last week of the death of Carol Weir. (You can read the Presbyterian News Service story here)
Carol and Ben were wonderful friends. When I was in seminary I got to know them both very well, as I cleaned house for them, helped them with dinner parties, and carted many loads of stuff to the dumb. I remember one trip to the dump site with Carol sitting in the passenger seat of my truck. I was asking her about how she handled things when Ben was held captive in Lebanon for 16 months. She spoke of her efforts to prod and move the Reagan administration to work for Ben’s release. It became clear as she talked that she would much rather have remained the quiet person in the background, but she realized very quickly that help would only come if she put aside her quiet nature and became the bulldog that wouldn’t let Ben’s kidnapping fade away into yesterday’s news. To a large part because of her efforts to keep Ben’s kidnapping on the front page, the wheels of government turned, and after 16 long months, Ben finally came home to his family. Carol found in that experience strength and courage she never knew she had.
I think about Carol often. We often feel that one person can’t make a difference, that one person can’t change the course of history, that one person, namely me (you), can’t possibly do anything because after all, who are we? Yet one ordinary person can make a difference. Carol did. And we’ve seen others too. The question is, do we care enough to try, do we love enough to put ourselves out there in ways that may be uncomfortable, and are we willing to put ourselves on the line and take a risk for what we believe in? Are we willing to discover hidden resources of strength and courage in ourselves?
As I said, I think of Carol and others like her often. They are my inspiration, and my encouragement, as I stand up for what I believe in, and as I fight for what I believe is right and just.
Who is your inspiration?