Following are some articles from the book, which contains 100 such items. Some offer additional information on the next page or in the Appendix. Some (see the ones in italics) are written from the point of view of a person experiencing the situation. All invite you to look around yourself, within your daily life, and see what small thing you can do to make this world a better place for everyone.
CH. 2: WE EMPOWER OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Article Title: Hotlines
He holds a sign saying “Hungry.” She comes to work with a bruise, for the second time this month. His limited English hinders his search for work. Her tears won’t stop as she thinks about her husband, dying of cancer.
Help is out there, but people need to know how to get to it. You can provide the road map. Carry a list of hotline numbers. The list should start with “2-1-1,” if it’s available in your area, which offers referrals in various languages for food, shelter, senior services, addictions, counseling, and other needs. It should then list several toll-free numbers that offer help for child- or elder-abuse, addictions, suicide/depression, runaway youth, domestic violence, and families facing grave illness. Give a list to people in crisis, not pointing to any specific number except 2-1-1, and let them choose either to talk or to just keep the list to empower them when they’re ready to get help.
If the moment is right, offer your cell phone and some privacy for the call. It may take just your one unobtrusive act to save a life.
[See “Hotlines” in Appendix A2 for list of toll-free numbers.]
CH. 4: WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER
Article Title: Protecting Patients
Please…I’m here… Somebody…. I know you’re visiting your father in the next room, but I’ve called out a dozen times for a nurse to bring me a blanket. You must have heard. Please get someone for me. Last week I was so thirsty, but nobody would answer my call button, and the woman visiting her friend in the other bed became irritated with me and closed the curtain between us. This morning I heard the laughing again. One aide was mimicking my slurred speech, the other was calling out my daughter’s name like I do when I really get feeling downhearted. I’m old, but I’m not deaf or stupid. I’ve been in this place for so many months that I’m less than a piece of furniture to them. If you tell someone in charge and wait to be sure something is done, then I’d be so grateful. No, it won’t get you in trouble, but, chances are, nobody will even think about treating your dad the way they’re treating me. Please… somebody…. Please.
CH. 5: WE NURTURE GOD’S FAMILY
Article title: Include a Loner
Wave a palm of welcome! Well, maybe you shouldn’t go that far. But just as Jesus, a stranger, was welcomed on the first Palm Sunday, you can greet someone who feels like an outsider any week. There’s the man who hugs the corner during church service, the young couple in the back trying to manage their small children, the widow who comes faithfully each week, the person you’ve never seen before. They come alone and they leave alone, untouched by the family that is Church.
It’s past time to let them know we welcome them. We can sit or stand by a newcomer or loner or invite her to sit with us. We can invite him to coffee and donuts in the church hall. We can easily engage people in conversation by commenting on their cute child or an upcoming church event. They just need to feel noticed, and we need to let them know we consider them part of our caring, Christ-centered family.
CH. 6: WE RECOGNIZE GOD’S FAMILY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Article Title: Speak English!
Speak English, darn it. Our blood boils as we wait to be seated at a restaurant, hearing two people near us talking in another language. They’re in America, so they should speak English!
But why? Do we think they’re talking about us? Or planning to rob the place? Do we really want (or need) to know what they’re saying? If they were speaking in English, it would be rude of us to eavesdrop. We’re not bothered by people speaking in sign language or teens speaking their brand of “English” (although we could do without some of those words). Most people pepper our everyday language with borrowings from Spanish, German, Yiddish, Italian. Besides, we know that if we go to England, people there will complain that we don’t really speak English at all!
Next time, then, resolve to turn boiling blood into thankfulness for living in a country made up of a rich tapestry of cultures, all of which add words to that ever-evolving banquet of language we call “English.”
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