Sunday, January 02, 2011

Before The Eye Roll

I'm 'bout tired of a few things.


Sick and tired, if you must know.

As in had it up to here, totally over it, done-diddy-done with it.

I'm tired of being upset.  I think I spent the majority of 2010 being just ill about things -- my kids, other people, other people's opinions of me, the government, the people upset with the government, my hair, the price of gas....  I have just been up-set.

And I'm 'bout tired of it.  So, I'm not going to be upset any more.  Well, that's my goal, at least.

But.  See.  There's a difference between being upset and being indignant.  I'm upset when someone gives me that look like I must be a terrible parent because my kid isn't sitting still.  I'm upset when the price of gas goes up 30 cents overnight.  And, I'm upset when I simply can't get my kid out of bed in the morning.  This is the kind of stuff I'm not going to let get to me any more.

Seriously.  Hold me to it. 

However, there's this whole other level of upset that I call being indignant.  That is to say that it's being upset because something is unjust -- on a larger level.  I am indignant when I look around me and see so much wealth and starving kids living right next to each other.  I am indignant when there are so many children with no parents and yet it takes $40,000 and a literal act of congress to adopt one.  I am indignant that in our community where we literally throw away pounds and pounds of food daily, the shelves of the local food banks are bare.  I am indignant when I get an e-mail or FaceBook message asking me to "sign" and online petition about something and I see how many people have slapped their name down there.


Why am I indignant about that?

Well, I'm indignant about that because this insane slacktivist mentality has so permeated our way of life that it's nearly impossible to get actual, useful support for important causes because we all feel like we've done our share by signing the petition, or dropping a few coins in a fireman's boot or changing our Facebook status for a day. 


This kind of stuff just gets me riled up.  Seriously.  How is it that the most powerful nation in the world - the country know across the planet for it's compassion and dedication to helping those in need -- has been reduced to such complacency?  I realize that there are still a lot of people who actually do step up and help.  I saw our church deliver Christmas gifts to 250 families, a friend's ministry that feeds the hungry several times a week, a team of folks who headed over to Africa to help in an orphanage that means the difference between life and death for orphans.  Another team headed to Eastern Europe to give hope to orphans. There are still people who help.  But, not as many as could.

I can't tell you how difficult it was to find enough people in our extremely affluent community who would step up and fill a 2-gallon zip-lock bag with a few Christmas gifts and write a letter to an orphan in Latvia.  Seriously.  I live in a neighborhood with 10,000 homes all valued over $200,000 and we couldn't get 150 people to do this.  Yes, I know, it's a hard year - people are struggling to make ends meet...  But there was no shortage of people in line at Target for the $400 flat-screen TVs on Black Friday.

I don't begrudge people the fruits of their labor.  I think if you study hard, get a good education, work hard at your job and bring home a fat pay check that you should be able to buy a big tv... and a Lazy Boy to watch it from.  But, if you can afford that, surely you can afford to help someone else.  Surely you can give hope to a child across the globe by letting him or her know that someone cares.  Surely you can buy a few dozen mosquito nets for kids in Africa.  Certainly you can get up early one Saturday or skip dinner one weekday and help hand out food to people who otherwise wouldn't have any.  Shoot, you probably can afford to pare down your grocery list for a week and buy double of everything so that you can give the second set of groceries to a family in need -- either because you know them or by giving them to a food bank.

We have it so amazingly good in this country.  Seriously.  Even most of those who are the worst off here have it better than many of the people in the world.  And, despite how busy, difficult or crazy your life is, I can pretty much guarantee you someone else could use your assistance and YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO GIVE IT TO THEM!


You do.

You might not know it.

You might not believe it.

You might not even want to, but, you *could* make a life-changing difference in someone else's existence. 

And, you want to know a secret?

It's fun to help someone out.  It's better than a roller coaster.  Better than double chocolate brownie chunk ice cream.  Nearly addictive.

Want to know another secret?

A lot of times, it's pretty easy, too.  Just, not as easy as slapping your name on the online petition, though.  You'll actually have to *do* something.

Now, I realize that I harangue you all about helping out.  I'm constantly asking for folks to step up and sponsor an orphan in Latvia or buy Christmas gifts for a kid in the community or provide book bags for needy kids, or help pack boxes of stuff to head overseas, or paint a house for someone in need, or make a card for a soldier.  And, maybe you don't have the money to sponsor a kid, but I bet you *can* make a card.  I also bet you can hammer a nail or make a meal for someone who's just out of the hospital, or help stuff pencils and crayons into book bags...

So, I hope you'll consider actually coming through when I ask for help some time.  Or, when someone else asks for help.  Catch yourself right before you huff, roll your eyes and think that you don't have time/money/skills to help.  Right before the eye roll, stop for a second and say to yourself, "Self, how can I make this work?  How can I fit this into my schedule?"  And, I bet you are clever enough to figure it out!

But, if you don't, I won't get upset.  I gave that up.

So, here's a way you can help RIGHT NOW!  Something that has to be finished by the morning of Friday, January 7, 2011.  You can make a handmade Valentine's Day card that we'll send off to Operation Write Home and they will send to a soldier who will then have an beautiful card to send home to his or her sweetheart.  You have the ability to do this.  It only takes a few minutes and it doesn't cost much money at all and it's actually kind of fun.  It won't change the world immediately.  It's not going to even directly save someone's life.  But, it does make a real difference because it lets a soldier know that someone cares enough about what our troops are doing for us that this person (you) took the time to make this card and get it to them.  Then it also lets the soldier's sweetie know that their sacrifice of being away from their loved one is appreciated.  And that they are loved. 

Like this one I made:

Here's also a few other ways you can *do* something the really make a difference in this world:

The Latvian Angel Project Web Site

Papa's Pantry Website

Forever Fed Website

Operation Write Home Website

Give a Kid a Chance Website

MUST Ministries Website

Simple Obedience Ministries Website