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Exquisite Fire

Two summers ago I listened to a great Zen teacher.
Like all great teachers and speakers, she used simple
words, and she tuned them to an inner intensity,
an exquisite fire of almost musical meaning.

“Do not waste your life.”

Her voice had deepened from age, illness, and so many
dharma talks in so many places. The room fell still, and for the briefest moment
one could feel a singular inspiration of collective will.

John Lewis did not waste his life.

So much will be written about this man, his astonishing energy,
his unending commitment to all that is good and true and fair
in this heartwrenchingly unfair world.

I do not pretend to have anything to add.

Obeisance and a gratitude
free of ego, agenda, and grasping
is owed to this human being, who
gave so very much, who got up
every morning, to do
what must be done.

Because of John Lewis, countless
people of color, and all those who share the values of equality
and honesty and anger turned to action, will live lives not for
one moment wasted.

He is a gift.