When we define the value of a country (or an entire continent) by its Gross Domestic Product or of an individual by his or her net worth, we lose.
When we equate success with the bottom line on an income statement, we lose.
We lose our way.
We miss out on the beauty of life.
We disconnect ourselves from what it means to be human.
Ultimately, we forfeit the enriching experiences and life’s lessons that can only come from opening our hearts in order to connect, to embrace, to love.
I was fortunate to visit Africa on two different occasions. I couldn’t help falling in love with the beauty of the continent and the treasure that is its people. I was moved and transformed by their resilience in the face of sometimes overwhelming circumstances, but also by their beautiful, welcoming smiles, by their rich cultures and traditions, by their generosity.
I went to Ghana and Zambia to teach and to serve, but it was I who was taught some of the most valuable lessons in life: about the importance of the community, the deepest expressions of spirituality, and the value of hospitality.
I will never forget the wonder of seeing my first elephant in the wild, just like I will never forget wandering into a late-night candlelight worship service in a remote Zambian village and melting breathlessly into the rich, majestic harmonies of the people’s singing under the twinkling bright stars of the Milky Way, as they have done from the beginning of time.
I will carry these experiences with me for the rest of my life.
So, while I would like to end with David W. Orr’s quote, here are a few pictures that I took in Ghana.
“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”
– David W. Orr
D’mitri Sobol is a long-time member and lay-leader of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although he lives in North Carolina, he serves the church each week by editing and uploading the Traditional and Contemporary sermons to the All Souls YouTube channel and the Humanist Hour podcast. D’mitri is a valuable member of the Audio/Video Team.
If you’re interested in contributing to All Souls in a communications capacity, email Bonita James, Communications Manager.