“Where are All Those Babies Coming from?”


[Third Rail, Harvard Square T, 2015]

In conversations a couple of times, lately, I’ve heard the word “upriver” used to anchor whatever that person—usually young, usually progressive, usually really smart—is talking about, a shorthand for systemic, overwhelming, we need to look at and deal with the root causes of whatever social ill you and I are presently talking about.

The backstory to “upriver” (Skip this paragraph if you already know.): Upriver references a much-told story I’d heard back in the early 90s; the third-hand way I’d heard the tale, it had been told by Kip Tiernan, a righteous, early-on advocate for the homeless. Kip’s story went like this: Once upon a time there was a village beside a river. One day someone from the village saw a baby on a raft floating by so rescued that baby, took it home, clothed it, fed it, built a crib for it to sleep in, etc. Next day, two babies, two rescues, next day, more and more until the people of that village were doing nothing else but rescuing babies. The story ends, of course, when someone in that village proposes that someone should walk upriver to find out what’s going on!

Here’s the thing, though: Even though you or I can think upriver about, say, why it’s hot as hell right now in the Northeast although the calendar’s saying it’s early fall—another day in the 90s expected today—or why, right now, close to 60 Million People have been forcibly displaced worldwide (Take whatever time you need to take in that obscenely astronomically number), such thinking doesn’t alleviate our pain, does it.

May our ability to connect dots, to be mindful, to think systemically, to acknowledge root cases, may such mindfulness lead to a precious moment for each of us to hear the answer to our question: “What is it am called to do?”

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and very dearest friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much! I thank-you so for this very inspiring and blessed blog post article of yours, sister! I so love and like this a whole bunch and am emboldened to be an even better and more empowering Christian woman because of you, my precious white sisterfriend, and this uplifting blog post article of yours! I thank-you so as well for these great links which you have so, so very graciously and generously included. I had not heard of this wondrously wonderful and amazing woman, Kip Tieran. What a splendid woman who she was who truly did such life-saving, spirit-saving, and life-enhancing work for the dear people with whom she worked!!!!!! I, too, have been homeless like the precious folks she worked with although I was homeless decades ago. Like the populations our Kip Tiernan served so lovingly in such a heartfelt, sensitive, and caring manner I, too, am a recovering alcoholic and addict. I was so greatly and immensely helped by wonderful people like our Kip Tiernan, and I have been clean and sober in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous for 25 joyous years!!!!!! People like our Kip Tiernan are just such a joy and a deeply spirit-saving blessing, Patricia!!!!!! I thank-you also, sister, for your great, detailed, and thorough description and explanation of the word, “upriver.” I had not known this beforehand, sisterfriend, and as usual I learn something new so, so very joyfully from you, my friend!!!!!!!

    You are so right when you explain with our Dear Spirit God’s urgent leading how I think of from your grand words of the loving way Jesus’ s words For Always urge us to take care of the poor, the hungry, the sick, to clothe those who need clothing, and take care of and to visit those in prison. As Jesus so lovingly set the example for all of us Jesus was saying in what we do for the least of these folks we even do for Jesus. I, too, think of the dearest and darling Syrian refugees and others trying desperately to seek a new home in Europe as they escape grave danger and hardship in their horrid plight. My very heart aches for these dear people and I give them my very heart in prayers!!!!!!! I love and am deeply touched and moved in my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit to heed the urgent call of your words, “What is it I am called to do?,” I know that I can pray with such sharp and unceasing mindfulness and to be For Always aware and informed of all of the very many issues, causes, and of all of the sufferings and problems in our very special, blessed, preciously beloved country and in our world. I can be a strong and ardent prayer warrior in intercessory prayer and to pray without ceasing, and also have the very impetus to do whatever I can within all of my human being and human power in a practical and more concrete manner to help and to work with other persons as we all work in the unity of the spirit to heal our collective brokenness as you so wisely mentioned in your previous blog post article.

    Patricia, I am just so, so very ablaze in my very heart, and in my very heart, soul, and spirit by your strongly powerful and insightful words in this blessed blog post article of yours, sister! You as For Always and your very special writings help me to be an even better Christian woman! Thank-you so, Patricia!!!!!! I have such greatly immense joy, blessings, and pleasure reading your cool and great blog post articles, and responding eagerly and joyfully to them with such joy, blessings, and gladness in my very heart and spirit, my dearly precious white sisterfriend Christian!!!!!!!

    Please have a totally terrific and a thrilling Tuesday, and a wondrously wonderful week, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!!!
    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you For Always for all you do and for these fantastically inspiring blog post articles of yours that are such a great and inspiring read, sister!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my dearest white sister, Patricia, with Peace and Love to you For Always, my precious friend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.