In an earlier post I described the stories of angel’s singing, a star leading wise men, and a pregnant virgin as myths that could not be proven. But, as in many myths there is truth in these old stories. For instance, The Old Fool sees truth in the angel’s song to the shepherds that God favors good-willed people with peace and all its blessings.
How does the Old Fool discern the difference between myth and truth? The parts of a story that may have happened but cannot be proven is described as myth. The truth is repeatable and actionable. Mutual goodwill brings peace wherever and whenever it exists. That goodwill brings peace is no myth. It is the truth!
On Wednesday evening some adults of the family met in the Dan Stoltzfus home to listen to stories told by Kenson and Hannah who are on a one week vacation away from their work in Haiti. How they became members of our family is one of goodwill which is beyond the scope of this blog. Kenson is a Haitian native and Hannah has lived and worked in Haiti. Then they studied in the US and received advanced academic degrees. Hannah received a Fulbright scholarship to help develop Haiti’s health care system.
Hannah and Kenson went to Haiti with good will. How is it working out?Haiti is known for its poverty, yet not everyone in Haiti is poor. There are two Haitis. One Haiti is rich; the other Haiti is poor. In past years Kenson and Hannah belonged to and associated with the poor. Now they have an assignment that requres them to live in a large rich-looking house and have connections to the highest levels of the Haitian government and the US Embassy. This tends to alienate them from the Haitian poor. But rich Haitians know that they are not one of their own. They are accepted and used only if it increases the rich’s advantage over the poor. Greed is everywhere in both Haitis
Life is hard for Kenson and Hannah as both poor Haitians and rich Haitians try to take advantage of them. Having goodwill for all (rich or poor) often means taking up a cross. Kenson and Hannah are learning that to be true. Only after suffering on the cross did Jesus receive glory.
Another story is circulating among family members and it deserves to be told here. Grandson Dan Stoltzfus is in charge of the operations of a manufacturing plant in Elkhart County. Each year the company has an annual Christmas party where an award is given to an “employee of the year.” The employee is nominated by fellow employees.
This year the unusual happened. Many of the employees reported that they wished they could nominate Dan Stoltzfus. They knew he was ineligible as a member of the executive team, yet they listed his good qualities. In response to this groundswell of support, the owner and president of the company created a new award called the “Integrity” award. On the plaque was inscribed in simple phrases Dan’s qualities as reported by the employees. Simply put, Dan is a man of “good will” who has changed the culture of the company.
This afternoon Rachel, Eldon, a friend and I went to see Lincoln , the movie that lays bare the intrigues of the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life. The squalor of war, and the evils of political shenanigans are portrayed as they are. Yet arising out of this drama, if he had been allowed to live, is a president ready to lead the nation with malice toward none and charity toward all. If you haven’t already seen the movie, I recommend that you do so with no reservation.
This brings me to the breaking news of tonight. A president is trying to lead a dysfunctional congress to avoid a fiscal clift. My prayer and my hope is that the truth of the Christmas myth will prevail and that out of this debacle will arise leaders in government and society who are willing to lead in government and society with good will to all.