No one who has stood for high values — love, truth, justice — has died being able to declare victory, once and for all. If we embrace values like those, we need to find ways to stand in the gap for the long haul, and be prepared to die without having achieved our goals.
I have a friend who has devoted most of his adult life to resisting the madness of war through actions of justice and peace. He . . . lives in poverty so as to stay below the taxation level. . . . The money he "should" have given the government over the years he has donated to peace-and-justice projects. Does he have any results to show for his efforts? Has he been effective? Hardly — at least, not by the normal calculus. His years of commitment to peacemaking have been years of steady increase in wars and rumors of wars. So how does he stay healthy and sane? How does he maintain a commitment to this sort of active life? "I have never asked myself if I was being effective," he says, "but only if I was being faithful." He judges his action not by the results it gets, but by its fidelity to his own calling and identity.