I’m preaching to the choir here, so don’t take this personally. In fact, I edited the below to be written in first person singular instead of first person plural just to make it clear that I am guilty.
I find it’s so easy for me to learn about and know about suffering around the world and still do nothing. I certainly disagree with whatever power is doing the harm, but I take no real action to speak out and stop that power. Similarly, I watch or read about the devastation a natural disaster leaves behind and I feel bad for a few days, I donate money, but soon the frequency of reporting on the disaster subsides, and thus, so does my concern. I am re-consumed with my own life, my own petty problems. I take for granted the infrastructure in place here in America. It’s not perfect or hurricane-proof, but it is a lot better than what most of the world has as a “defense” against winds, rain and the shaking of the earth. If a tornado comes, my iPhone will alert me, as will a network of sirens. If a tree falls on my roof, someone will come to help me. If a hurricane comes inland, I have the means to pack up my car and take my pick of friends and family to go stay with. I have homeowner’s insurance, health insurance…
All of the above are my security blankets and they hinder—no nearly eliminate—my ability to fully comprehend and feel the chaos, heartbreak and hopelessness present in a place like Nepal, not only days, but weeks, months and years after a catastrophe has occurred. I could rebuild my life with the help of State Farm, so I apply my own sense of comfort and security to the problem, downplay its seriousness, and file it away.
How can I change? Well, I’m going to a Bake Sale on Saturday.
I get better at stuff by disciplining myself to take small steps and learn more, so I applaud #Austin Bakes for stepping up to not only raise money, but raise awareness and start conversations about how we can really help those that suffer around the world.
I don’t do a very good job of it most days, but I do try to live by the tenet, “Do for one what you would like to do for all.” So, this coming Saturday, I plan to stop by one of these locations and find some treats. I encourage you to do the same. If you don’t eat sweets, you can simply make a donation in person or online. You can also bake and participate to raise money. There are many opportunities to show and provide support.
Then, while we eat our chocolate chip cookies or our gluten-free Snickerdoodles, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a mother, father, spouse or child in Nepal, or Burma, or Syria, or any other place where life is, to put it lightly, difficult. Ponder their fear and their loss for a moment. Then pull out your own smart phone—the one that sends you severe weather alerts—and set a reminder to do something for those that are suffering on a regular basis. Send thoughts, send prayers, send money, buy brownies… Do small things and do them regularly—that’s how we will all get better at being better people.