April 19, 2005
New in the delightfully international circle at Chez Dilys is the rumor of an approaching visit by an accomplished and beautiful Polish friend of a friend. Good&Happy is newly extra-attentive to things Good&Polish these days.
In a Los Angeles Times op ed, Lech Walesa, former President of Poland, and founder of the Soldarity movement, reflects on John Paul II at a critical point in history. It may be that John Paul was himself a critical point of intersection between Hope and History.
For years before the pope's visit in 1979, I had tried to organize a group to fight communism, seeking support from Poland's 40 million people. In two decades, I attracted 10 fellow activists. People had no hope that they could overthrow communism and no faith that world leaders would offer support. The enslaved societies were in bad shape, weakened by uncertainty and apprehension....Then something unbelievable happened. A Pole became Pope....Within a year of the Holy Father's visit to Poland, my group of 10 blossomed into the 10-million-member assembly called Solidarnosc....We could see one another and estimate our strength. The Holy Father spoke to us: Do not be afraid!...Consciences began to awaken....
We wonder as we look at such visible servants of mankind -- what if young, attractive Karol had said No to his call? What if the push-back in places like Poland had remained a mere fever-dream of anomie and depression?