The Common Good

What Matters Most

Kind, tired eyes from too much seeing ...

Follow me illustration, Jesus Cervantes /
Follow me illustration, Jesus Cervantes /

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Worn, battered shoes from too much walking ...

Stained, tattered shirt from too much working ...

Gentle, calloused hands from too much holding ...

Open, humbled heart from too much knowing ...

You come to me

     As one unknown,

     Without a name,

     As of old,

     By the lakeside

As you came to those who did not know you.

You speak to me:

     "Follow me!"

And set me to the tasks

     Which you have to fulfill in my time.

You command.

     I obey in my own simple way.

You reveal yourself

     In the toils,

     In the conflicts,

     In the sufferings

Which I pass through

     In your fellowship.

As an ineffable mystery,

     In my own experience

     I am learning who you are.

You tell me:

     "This is what I think of you -

You will go forth from these walls,

     But will live like a monk in the world."

"You will have many enemies,

     But even your foes will love you.

Life will bring you many misfortunes,

     But you will find your happiness in them,

And will bless life

     And will make others bless it -

Which is what matters most.

Trevor Scott Barton is an elementary school teacher in Greenville, S.C. He is a blogger for the Teaching Tolerance project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

Image: Follow me illustration, Jesus Cervantes /

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