A “lifeboat in a sea of stars”

“The world is one lifeboat in a sea of stars; there is no cause for joy if our end is sound while the other end is sinking.”
Sargent Shriver | Los Angeles, CA | March 17, 1975

Our Quote of the Week uses a powerful metaphor to remind us of our interconnectedness and to spark an impulse towards solidarity and service towards others, particularly those more vulnerable than we are.

This week, we’re revisiting Sargent Shriver’s 1975 Address to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. A relatively brief and lighthearted speech in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish heritage, the speech makes the serious point that human beings yearn deeply for three seemingly contradictory things: independence, unity, and transcendence. Shriver stresses that building peace and ending poverty would allow us to fulfill these deep yearnings, so that we could live freely while acknowledging our fundamental interconnectedness. To illustrate these powerful points, he uses this poetic metaphor of the world as a lifeboat in a sea of stars. It’s an image both profound and sobering, which underlines our common humanity while emphasizing that human suffering affects all of us.

As the holidays unfold, we are compelled to reflect on Sargent Shriver’s words. Today and every day, may we experience joy and gratitude for all we have, and may we find the strength to put into action what we already know: that any effort to be of service to others, particularly those who are most vulnerable, will result in strengthening us all.

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Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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