Book Excerpts highlight a piece of writing that has provoked further thought for our team. In this blog Jennifer, our Accounting Coordinator, reflects on the book A Song for Nagasaki by Nagai Takashi.
“Love is the foundation of our name because it is our motivating drive to end the trafficking and exploitation of children. We hold true what Martin Luther King, Jr. said: ‘Justice at its best is Love correcting everything that stands against Love.’”
This excerpt from our website describes an ethos upon which we have sought to build our organization. Love is our foundation, and it alters the lens with which we view the world. It informs our decisions, our actions, how we see people, and it fuels our vision for a better future.
Working for Love146, I am constantly inspired by my colleagues as I get to watch them live out this ideology and witness how it changes lives. I have also always found it inspiring to read and learn about those who have gone before us in the work of social justice. People such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and a litany of other beautiful souls who have taken up the mantra of love, peace, and hope. Their stories guide the way for me as we work toward abolition.
Last year, I was introduced to a book called “A Song for Nagasaki.” It tells the extraordinary story of the life of Nagai Takashi, a radiologist who survived the 1945 Nagasaki bombing. Having lost his wife in the attack and in spite of suffering from leukemia (contracted prior to the bombing through his radiology research), Nagai lived out the remainder of his years as an advocate for peace and healing in Nagasaki.
I wanted to share four small excerpts from this book. I’ve carried Nagai’s story in my heart as a reminder of a life lived looking through the lens of love, and how that can bring about healing even in the most hellish of situations. His life and work was truly based on the concept we embrace of “Love correcting everything that stands against love.”
“All are the beneficiaries of countless other ‘workers,’ and we owe it to the community to do our own job well, not primarily for material recompense but out of gratitude.”
“Assistance is authentic, he jotted down in his journal, when it helps restore a person’s dignity.”
“There is a great need of a peace movement made up of people committed to justice, patience and love, fired by a commitment that includes personal sacrifice and conversion of heart. Without these we cannot rise above the self-centeredness that is the real enemy of peace.”
“And we, if we really want to, can make any occupation, and twenty-four hours of each day, into a poem. Of course, first we have to create a heart that is both serious and light! We have to gaze below the surface of things, search out the hidden beauty that is everywhere and discover the glorious things all around us. Then each day becomes a haiku poem.”
I chose these four quotes from the book because they provided poignant insight into the heart of someone whose story is inspiring on many levels. Someone who quietly and beautifully lived a life based on a commitment to justice, patience, and love, and was able to dignify and enhance the lives of those he served. May these sorts of stories serve as a spark to motivate us every day to keep love as our foundation.