A Nation Being Rebuilt: My Fortnight in Myanmar (poem)

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among brothers,

To make music in the heart.

(The Work of Christmas, Howard Thurman)

The tongue so unfamiliar,

I could not reliably utter

even a basic “thank you,”

despite the scores upon scores of times

each day it aimed to cross my lips,

despite the hundred moments daily

gratitude flooded my heart.

There is so much wrong in this nationĀ  –

haunting residue of colonialism,

insidious corruption of government,

extraction of its natural bounty

to satiate the unremitting hungers

of the behemoth to the north.

Dominant religion that dominates.

There is so much right with this country,

with this land, with these peoples –

Generosity the likes of which I have never known;

Christianity from a marginalized position,

feeding the hungry, healing the sick,

welcoming truly the stranger.

Peacemakers of all ilk, healing the broken,

democracy seeping in to split it all wide open.

May the people stay on the land.

May the land and the peoples be healed and rebuilt.

May I bring home the lessons of hospitality

given so freely and open-heartedly.

May the so much that is right

triumph over

the so much that is wrong.

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