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To Savor the World or Save It
To Savor the World or Save It
Meditation

“It’s hard to know when to respond to the seductiveness of the world and when to respond to its challenge. If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
—E.B. White

I rise in the morning torn between the desire 
To save the world or to savor it—to serve life or to enjoy it; 
To savor the sweet taste of my own joy 
Or to share the bitter cup of my neighbor; 
To celebrate life with exuberant step 
Or to struggle for the life of the heavy laden. 
What am I to do when the guilt at my bounty 
Clouds the sky of my vision; 
When the glow which lights my every day 
Illumines the hurting world around me? 
To savor the world or save it? 
God of justice, if such there be, 
Take from me the burden of my question. 
Let me praise my plenitude without limit; 
Let me cast from my eyes all troubled folk! 
No, you will not let me be. You will not stop my ears 
To the cries of the hurt and the hungry; 
You will not close my eyes to the sight of the afflicted. 
What is that you say? 
To save, one must serve? 
To savor, one must save? 

The one will not stand without the other? 
Forgive me—in my preoccupation with myself, 
In my concern for my own life 
I had forgotten. 
Forgive me, God of justice, 
Forgive me, and make me whole.

About the Author

  • The Rev. Dr. Richard S. Gilbert retired in 2005 after serving 44 years in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in Cleveland, Ohio, Golden, Colorado, Ithaca, New York, and for 32 years at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York. He received an M.Div. from St. Lawrence...

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