By Caroline Hope Griffith
Research Analyst, Duke Global Health Institute
Today’s theme of the Great Lakes Leadership Institute was lament, which is the ability to see and truthfully name the brokenness in the world.
In our community health seminar session, we heard the laments of women and men who have witnessed incredible brokenness. Participants talked about corruption, the vicious cycle of war, HIV/AIDS, the consequences of genocide, rape and sexual violence among women, and the abject poverty of too many communities.We don’t like to think too much about the brokenness in our lives; instead we constantly seek superficial quick and easy fixes. However, it is important to dwell in this brokenness for a time in order to understand and prepare ourselves to create a space for reconciliation and peace.
I thought about some of the laments we have in our communities in the US: so many people go hungry and are homeless, too many people are out of work, political and religious divisions impede the growth of our society, and there are so many fatal shootings in our schools.
Even among all of the brokenness, these leaders continue to rebuild lives and search for hope. My inspirational thought for the day came from our plenary speaker, a Congolese theologian who led efforts to reconstruct homes, hospitals, and lives in his hometown in eastern Congo after 2000 were killed there (the legendary Jimmy Valvano also lived his life this way): “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up, no matter how difficult the challenges are that you face.” If these men and women can continue to press on in the face of such great violence and sadness, then who am I to quit when the going gets tough?
See my earlier posts from the conference: