Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Can you really make a difference? Yes.

This has been quite a week of reading rants. And the reading has led to more critical thinking than I have done in quite a while. There are hundreds of thousands of armchair critics pointing fingers about wasting drinking water, unfair police, racist policy, politicians on vacation, and I only have one thing to say: Do something about it. Think ALS and breast cancer are getting more attention than the disease you or your family is experiencing? Well, fill us in and get us up to speed on awareness. Did you know that Lewy Body Dementia is on the rise and is far more debilitating than Alzheimers? I didn't either until I had a friend suffering the shock of it through hospitalized parents. The only way to get past the stigma is to put it out there. Do you think the police have too many rights and privileges in a democratic society? Then bring a discussion to your local community on how it can avoid the same situations we just saw from a distance. Adding fuel to a fire already raging is counterproductive. We should be outraged enough to be talking to our friends and neighbors about better rapport with law enforcement. It is our right and our duty. Scale your rage into workable points and goals and demand that your local officials take them to regional officials, to state officials, to federal officials, to international think-tanks.

Let me ask you how many times you step out of your comfort zone to volunteer in your local community each year. And this isn't about volunteering at the inner city soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, this is about the other 364 days of the year when the children that live next door might not be getting breakfast on a weekend morning because there is no free meal without the public school. Adults are the ones who lob the threats back and forth, but children are the ones who suffer the most. Regardless of your religious affiliation or political affiliation or complete lack thereof, children are the only hope we have of making changes. It takes a village to raise a child and that isn't necessarily a village half a planet distant, it is a village you live in and contribute to.

Is it popular to say I grew tired of all the finger pointing in the news this summer? Well, no. Is it too much to ask that we find something positive in our lives daily to share with our fellow humans to give us hope for another day on this planet? Probably. But we should all try.

I will leave it at this: Every society has extremes. If extremes make you uncomfortable, do your best to come to terms and an understanding with a moderate form of the extreme. If you feel uncomfortable at a home
less shelter, donate time to stock a local food pantry. If you have an uneasiness of mentally disabled adults, perhaps try volunteering for a pet therapy program for rehabilitating patients. If you fear death, hold the hand of one patient in a hospice facility. The only way we can become more human is to do things with actual humanity in them. And these, dear friends, are the stories we should share with each other over coffee, in a public park, with children playing in the distance. We should live at living.

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