By Kelly Hines
I went through a phase recently where I just didn’t watch the news. There was too much fighting, too much sorrow, too many people yelling at each other and solving nothing. It was easier and so much more pleasant to bury my head in the sand and ignore it all. The only thing I really care about are the people I see and talk to on a regular basis – my friends, my family, my community. When it comes down to brass tacks, the only ones I really worry about are the little group of people I am lucky enough to share my home with. For them, I would lay down my life, fight any battle, stand up to any injustice.
But for the rest of the world? Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s not that I didn’t care, it’s just that – well, what’s the point? What can I do? Sometimes I feel like my voice doesn’t count, my donation is a drop in the bucket, I have my own problems and people to worry about. I’d become desensitized to violence, resentful of the constant asking for money to one cause or another, overwhelmed by the size and scope of the world’s problems. I have Christmas shopping to finish, who has time for anything else?
And then the overflow shelter opens and I sit across from a woman who has not seen her child in a year. I sit by a girl with a child in her belly that she loves desperately but knows that her love won’t feed him or clothe him or give him a home.
And then I am at a Christmas party at the elementary school, and a plastic bag full of food is slipped quietly into a child’s bookbag, so they’ll have enough to eat over the weekend. Then a friend posts on Facebook about a family who’ve lost their house in a fire.
As long as there are mothers and children suffering, how can I not care? So I write a check or give up an hour or buy an extra can of food. This is not much for me to do. And I talk about it. I am given a space to write a blog, or a soapbox on Facebook, or the opportunity to invite a friend to the shelter with me. I try not to get preachy, but it’s hard. I know it’s easy to turn it all off, lest we become engulfed by sorrow. But there is no greater purpose as a human being than to help others. It’s a moral obligation, regardless of faith or nationality, economics or schedules. WE are all we have, and if we don’t do it, who will?
Everyone likes to make a New Year’s resolution. Whether it’s to lose weight or read more or get off social media. This year, I ask you to resolve to do something that’s really going to make a difference to someone else. Stand up and speak out. Give sacrificially. Be the annoying person on Facebook who’s always posting about a fundraiser. Volunteer when you don’t think you have the time. (Click HERE for a list of local non profits who could use your help today). Watch the news or read your local paper to find something that specifically touches your heart. Take hold of that and find out how to get involved. Don’t wait for the people with more money or more time to do it. They need you and me – soccer moms and working moms and tired moms. Moms who love their children and can’t stand to see another child suffer like the ones in war-torn countries, or the ones in our schools, or on the streets of our own cities. And while we may not solve the world’s problems, we can make a difference. Together, we can make small, incremental changes.
Together, we rise.