We live in a society where our culture is to use, abuse and toss. Be it our entertainment and news, our veterans, our grandparents or our toaster. Our trend is to get excited for thirty seconds, then forget. Get involved for a quick minute, then move on. For a nation that talks about sustainability, the truth is we’re pretty poor at sustaining anything in our lives outside of debt and fear. Commit a crime, go to prison, Disposable! Mentally handicapped, Disposable! Veteran, Disposable! Old, in a nursing home, Disposable! Poor, Disposable! Not white, Disposable!
Granted, I’ll get arguments that I’m painting with too much of a broad brush, but most of those arguments will be coming from those who are not disposable. Those who haven’t suffered from the distinction of being touched by the law, by war, schizophrenia, hunger or senility. Yes, there are those who have lived through their challenges, survived the hurt and pain bought on by life, but you are the few, and that is the hard, and fast truth. Many people overcome obstacles, many more do not. Those who do not are disposable, and not by choice.
No veteran, damaged by the onslaught of violence deserves to be homeless, much less suffer in the silence of their own thoughts. No person whose mind is wired so differently than mine should be viewed with fear and distrust, no grandparent should sit alone on their birthday, no child suffer a distended belly because of hunger. Yet, they do. Yes, there are people who want to help. Yes, there are organizations who want to help. There are wonderful places doing wonderful things for those in need.
There are not enough people or organizations! Or money to help everyone in need. Why is that?
Because we live in a disposable society. We rather gather our poor into down trodden apartment complexes, neighborhoods with unkept lawns and littered streets where you don’t want to go. We shove our mentally challenged brothers and sisters out into the streets and shun them, or worse, blame them for their crimes and commit them to the horrors of prison. There is little understanding and a lot less compassion. Few people take the time to visit their elderly grandparents, except for a birthday, or a funeral.
Chances are you’re waiting in anticipation for the next national scandal, or blockbuster to debut. Chances are your making plans to take a nice vacation, do some fishing, or go out to eat for a nice supper. Nothing wrong with that, ‘cept I have to ask, have you ever thought about doing something a little different for once, something that makes a difference.
See, the thing is, that difference I’m talking about works in some strange and amazing ways, friends. We can change not only our lives for the better, but the lives of others, simply by deciding to care about others, by speaking up, by doing, by engaging. No, we can’t solve every single problem, cure every disease, sooth all the pain, but we can care.
Once enough people start caring, and illustrating that care through action, things will start changing.
I’d like to give a small, real world example of what I mean, of what the impact a single action can have on a life.
From a friends FB post
Yesterday coming home, I saw a man hitching across from Davy Jones. He had long disheveled white hair & beard. Plus acting goofy. Didn’t know if from drugs, alcohol or what. I went on to the Post Office and coming back to that corner, he was still there. I got home and found I forgot to do something so I took off again to town. Getting back closer to that corner, this hitch-hiker was standing and waving his arms. I stopped. He wasn’t on drugs or drunk. He was mentally handicapped and needed a ride to the Devereux Center. He was harmless and really likes music, loud. Now, some would say what I did was a ‘christian’ thing to do. I totally disagree! Just how many ‘christians’ do you think passed him by? …… just saying
His name is Joe and I reassured him that I will pick him up when I see him.
I have to add. When we got to the Devereux Center, Joe was so thankful, he reached out and touched my arm, nodding. I reached out and touched his shoulder saying I’ll always pick him up.
The above post on FB bought a tear to my eye, because I have a son just like Joe and I hope when my son needs a person like Sherry Benjaman, that person is there for Sean when I cannot.
My son is not disposable, nor are our Vets, our elderly, our prison population, people of color, or our poor. Our toasters might be, but not our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, our neighbors, our friends.