Think about it: over 37 million people of all ages in our country are suffering from the ravages of poverty. These are men, women, and children off all ethnic backgrounds. They are healthy or unhealthy, mentally unstable or perfectly stable, families or individuals, unable to work or have been “downsized” and can’t find work. In short, poverty can strike anyone at any time–and it has. We can’t fix our economy overnight, but those of us who are fortunate enough not to be part of the 37 million can help through our donations not just of money but of time. Everyone has a little time to give. If serving at a soup kitchen takes more than you have, how about spending a few extra minutes while you grocery shop to shop for food items for those kitchens, or bake extra cookies for a shelter while you’re baking for your family. If you don’t have time to help a local charity pack sack lunches for the homeless, you probably do have a minute to smile and say “Hi” to the homeless man outside the store, thus letting him know that he’s recognized as a human being rather than an objectionable object. After your daughter’s softball game, when you go with the team to pizza, you have a second to invite along as your family’s guest the girl who can’t afford to go. In other words, poverty can be fought on the human level–one human being to another. And you fight the battle in little ways. As I always say, Small things really DO count!
Archive for January 31, 2020
This is a day we remember and honor Fred Korematsu, an internee who challenged the Japanese-American internment during WWII. So it’s appropriate that today’s Thursday Thought be a quote from him. It’s an important warning about our treatment of all ethnic, religious, and even socio-economic groups today.
Some claim it never happened. Others hear stories about it from relatives and friends. Still others lived through it. It affects all of us, because it was one of the most heinous crimes that humans have perpetrated against fellow humans. The Holocaust.
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It’s been 75 years. Yet, we remember it so that we can prevent it from happening again, even as we see shades of it developing in our world today.
Take a few minutes to view this video, “Rescue,” of people who refused to accept the inhumanity and fought it–and are still fighting it–by taking action.
I’m not easily shocked, but this chart shocked me. I didn’t realize we had this epidemic going on in the United States. Keep the numbers listed under the chart handy. You can be someone’s lifeline.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, English — (800)273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Spanish — (888)628-9454
For deaf/hard-of-hearing — (800)799-4899
Veterans Crisis line — (800) 273-8255
Again and again we hear people excuse their inaction in the face of cruelty and injustice with the declaration that one person can’t make any difference. They acknowledge that people are suffering but believe that the problem doesn’t really affect them or their loved ones. As today’s Thursday Thought quote shows, Martin Luther King, Jr., had a very different view.
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
- In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
- Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
It’s time to speak up!
We’re in the middle of “No Name-Calling Week” (http://glsen.org/nonamecallingweek). It’s an annual event carried on in schools, aimed at making life for students more livable and shutting up bullies, because there’s nothing they can think of saying.
This is a great idea. How about if adults observe the week, too? Imagine no name-calling at work or home, on the road or in bustling crowds, at sporting events or in the bars….
I know. You’re already tired of IMPEACHMENT, and the trial is just starting. Many of us are tempted to fast-forward to the end, when the final decision is made. That’s not a good idea.
We, the people, need to listen to the actual facts and tune out political posturing, half-truths, and outright lies. We need to analyze what we hear (and speakers’ telling body language), especially the questions coming directly from Senators later in the process, to determine if the Senators (both sides) are being true to their solemn oath to be fair and impartial. We need to scan the Senate floor, seeing if they’re being attentive or just napping or finding a way around the no-electronics rules. In short, we need to WATCH.
Why? Because the process reflects on us as a democracy. It shows the world if we can be trusted to practice what we preach. When it’s over, no matter what decision is made, it affects our future. If the people in power (President, Senators, others) have successfully manipulated the system, there’s no safeguard against their enacting self-serving laws, laws that make more Americans vulnerable and enrich the powerful on the backs of the poor and middle class. And our nation’s reputation and influence in the world–already severely damaged–sinks lower and lower.
But if they go 12 hours at a stretch….! Set your VCR. Watch the proceedings in bits, catching up to current time, then delete and reset for recording starting at that point. No, I don’t expect you to watch every second. But watch the majority of it. Be informed. Be critical. Be a concerned American.
And remember that an important election is coming up. If you think the Senators failed in their duty, don’t fail in yours. Make it right through your vote.
I had a dream—like Martin’s—
But in my dream
Cats were leashed and dogs roamed free,
The President was chosen by God,
All days were sunny, with rain only at night,
And the whole world loved chocolate.
In that dream
My friend was interesting, not rich or Black,
People talked to Gramps, not to me about him,
Wheelchair basketball was on Monday night TV,
And dinner was fair-trade chocolate.
Then I saw
Doctors fighting to save all lives,
Wardens taking none,
Soldiers idly playing checkers,
Now that bullets were just Hershey Kisses.
All that empty space:
Soup kitchens, with no clients to serve,
Sweatshops replaced by homes,
Jails, since the Rule became Golden,
Plus cups half-filled with cocoa.
I had a dream. Like Martin,
When I wake
To leave it behind.
“Consumption has become a habit, a hobby and a sport” (Evy McDonald, Spending Money as if Life Really Mattered). True. I recycle but don’t buy items with the “chasing arrows”/recycled content label. I should prepare more of my own meals (cheaper, healthier, less wasteful). Then there are all those gadgets in my kitchen—which do I actually use and which really make life easier? I can go through my home and give away stuff that’s no longer useful or that I’m keeping out of compulsion or the status I think it gives me. I can use the library rather than accumulating books. And visit museums, art exhibits, etc. instead of buying more dust-collectors. I’ve decided: I will concentrate each day on not wasting a single thing. Although I may not succeed totally, I will likely acquire a positive habit and manage to take better care of both the Earth and me.
A fellow parishioner decided when her kids were very young that they needed to learn charity. She taught them to give something to every person who asked. Each time that they were approached by the disabled vet outside the drug store, the homeless man on the street, the uniformed woman from the food-providing agency, the Salvation Army man with the Christmas kettle—anyone asking for help or for their aid in helping others—they would give a little something. I asked, “What if the person’s a fake or will spend the dollar on alcohol or drugs?” Her answer was another question: “What if they really do spend it on food for themselves or their family?” This woman was teaching her children an important fact. That is, it’s our job to be charitable; it’s God’s job to decide who He sends our way and why.