The Age of Insanity

Through the course of my life, I’ve seen walls of prejudice, bigotry, and hatred crumble and fall.  It wasn’t a fast process, but gradually ideas and opinions changed, there was greater understanding and tolerance.  Neither was it a painless process, and many people suffered many indignities to bring about those changes, but they believed the effort was worth it.

The past few years, more and more, I’m seeing a regression to earlier intolerance and violence.  And, tragically, those whose responsibility it is to provide leadership in resisting such negative change are not only failing to step up, but often actively seem to incite it.

I don’t know what will come during the rest of my days on earth.  I hope reason returns, and quickly.  Until then, Thank You to those of you who refuse to fall prey to the insanity.

Thank You to those who look at the people around you and lend a helping hand when it is needed.

Thank You to those who commandeer pickup trucks to shuttle wounded to hospitals.

Thank You to those who give of their own time and money to send aid to an island in desperate straits, whose own government not only has failed them, but mocked them while doing so.

Thank You to those who waded in to help after the devastation of Texas, Florida and the numerous Caribbean islands that were unable to withstand nature’s assaults.

Thank You to those who hold doors for people, smile at the overworked person assisting you in a place of business, or offer encouragement and aid to a parent struggling with a child in meltdown.

Thank You for seeing pain and trying to relieve it as best you can.  Thank You for refusing to join the mindless masses who turn a blind eye or think ‘warm thoughts’ replaces a helping hand.

We are the family of mankind.  All families have squabbles, but this family needs to remember that despite the problems, we are all in this together.  We all need someone and we all have something worthwhile to give.

Thank You.


Do Something. Anything.

A couple of years ago, a friend and I were talking and we both agreed that we would like to do more to make the world better, but we had limited time and money available to feel like we could have much of an impact.  As I pointed out to her, though, even if I can’t save the world and everyone in it from bad things, I can do SOMETHING.  Maybe all I can manage today is to hold the door open for someone who has their arms full, or offer to carry one of their bags to their car/apartment for them.  Yes, those are small things and the world doesn’t know that I did them, but that one person does.  Maybe others even witnessed it.  What if that person then made a greater effort to do something similar for someone else?  What if the witness made a greater effort to do something similar for someone else?  And what if every time something good was done, someone saw it and tried to emulate that behavior?  I might think holding open a door for someone was a tiny thing, but for all I know it could have broad repercussions.

If you have time and/or money to give to worthy causes to help others, wonderful.  If you have money but no time, so be it.  Start with where you are and what you can do.  If your situation changes (more time/money or less time/money), then adjust accordingly, but always try to move forward.  There’s a lot of ugliness and suffering all around us.  If we pull our eyes away from our cell phones, we’ll see ways to help.

I once sat in a large waiting room and saw a woman approaching the non-automatic door using a walker.  That entire waiting room did nothing.  I was seated on the far side of the room and walked across the room to hold the door for her.  Mind you, these were not sick and infirm people (at least not all of them).  Many, like me, were simply there waiting for someone who was having physical therapy.  But they did nothing.  I hope they felt ashamed of themselves after seeing me do that.  Yes, the friend I was there with had health issues that made me more aware of such things, but it was obvious that this woman was alone and going to have to wrestle a walker through a door trying to close on her.  I shouldn’t have been the only one to offer assistance to her.

Let’s not make excuses for doing nothing.  Let’s find ways to do something.  Anything.