Tag Archives: Making a difference one-on-one

Why are our organizations failing?

skyscraper

The Veteran’s Administration.

Immigration.

Welfare.

Social Security.

Education.

Healthcare.

Wallstreet.

Politics.

And that’s just here in the United States. If we look around the world, the list becomes too long to enumerate.

At first glance, one would ask if the organization itself is inherently bad. I suppose arguments could be made both for and against. Perhaps laws need to be passed to help improve the situation.

Oh wait, wouldn’t that require a governmental, law-making system that worked?

And that just proves the point.

Was there a time when these entities did function appropriately? Continue reading Why are our organizations failing?

“It is time to defend not so much human rights as human obligations” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

My constitutional rights.

We hear it often when people are demonstrating. They are angry that their rights have been abused or trampled on.

supreme-court   And they should be.

People who don’t fight for their rights tend to lose them.

But I did a little research to see just what those rights were. I found that there is a pretty extensive list of our constitutional rights.

But not all the rights that we hear people shouting “That’s my right!” were listed.  We’ve made some pretty liberal jumps in assuming what we actually do and do not have as a constitutional right.

On the same document of constitutional rights, I found it interesting that there was also a list of duties. These rights we keep shouting about don’t come alone; they are accompanied by responsibilities. Continue reading “It is time to defend not so much human rights as human obligations” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

???????????????????????????????I think many of us can remember the lesson in grade school about the ostrich. It is, relative to other birds, HUGE. But while other birds have the luxury of flying away from predators or danger, the ostrich is land bound. It does, however, pack a pretty powerful kick.

We’ve all heard the myth about ostriches burying their head in the sand, thinking that if they can’t see their enemy, then the enemy can’t see them. Ignoring the enemy will somehow make it go away.

It sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it? Continue reading Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

Pray. Listen. Act.

  

War in the Ukraine.Wild fires throughout the United States.School girls taken from their dormitories in Nigeria and sold.What can I do?I think there is frustration when we hear of horrible things happening around the world but we are in effect helpless to make a difference.

Or are we?

When I was in college I was given a poem based on the text from Matthew 25:35-36 which had a deep impact on me. It went through each of the admonishments in the verses where the sufferer was still suffering because we weren’t acting. At the end, the message came through that we may seem holy because we pray, but we haven’t in fact helped anyone out of the hole they are in.

I have agreed with the premise of the poem and shared it with many people over the years. Its message is powerful.

Now I wonder if we have gone too far, and only think our actions will do any good.

What really is prayer?

I’m sure that across the globe there are many different interpretations of the correct process. Some prayers may be more heartfelt than others, some more full of desperation than hope, some full of bitterness and anger rather than humility.

I would think the efficacy of prayer has more to do with the person offering the prayer than the One we know is at the other end, listening.

Why?

I certainly would never infer that God only listens to some while ignoring others. I understand far too much of life to ever allow that thought to be bandied about. He hears every prayer.

But prayer is communication, not recitation. Communication demands two participating parties. When one speaks, the other must listen.

I know when we speak, He listens.

When He speaks, do we listen?

Do we really believe that He will speak?

Really?

What happens when I pray?

I acknowledge that Someone knows more and has more control over things than I do. I humble myself to ask for help. My mind is focused on the problem at hand, and I am more likely to have ideas come to me that may provide solutions. With my mind focused, I am ready to get up and do something about it.

Pray. Listen. Act.

Kind of a simple mantra, but a pretty effective one, nonetheless.

So, let’s go back to the horrific things happening across the globe currently. What possible good could come from me praying about the situation in the Ukraine? Will my prayers put out the fires? Can praying return the stolen girls to their families?

My singular prayers may not have a huge effect on these happenings.

But I am still a member of the human race and while that brings many rights and privileges, it brings with it responsibility. The responsibility to not just stand by. The responsibility to not push it off as “not my problem.”

We’ve heard the story of the little boy on the beach who is standing amidst thousands and thousands of starfish that have washed up with the tide and are left on the dry sand. He bends down and picks one up and throws it back into the sea.

When asked what he is doing, he replies that he is saving the starfish.

“But you can’t possibly expect to throw enough back to make a difference, you can never get to them all.”

He bends over and picks one up. “Yeah, but it will make a difference to this one.” He reaches back and throws as hard as he can.

My prayer, combined with your prayer, and our friend’s prayers help us to get our minds focused that there is indeed Someone who knows more, who has a solution to the problem at hand. Rather than demanding the problem be solved, we ask for the best way and the guidance for each of us to do our part.

And we pray for each other. We pray for those in a position to help in the Ukraine. We pray for those fighting the forest fires. We pray for those searching for the stolen girls.

Because we know Someone does know more and has a solution for the problem at hand.

In the process, we find ourselves blessed with thoughts and ideas, things that just may help make a difference.

And we get up off our knees and get to work.

We may not be able to bring peace to the Ukraine on our own, but we can help build bridges between opposite sides of a position in our community.

We may not be able to hold the hose on the flames, but we can help conserve the water we have to make sure there is enough to go around.

We may not directly be able to bring home the kidnapped girls, but we can help a struggling neighbor child with her homework.

Kind of like throwing back a starfish.

Who knows if working for the resolution between opposing sides here locally will help lead to peace on a global scale?

But who knows that it won’t?

Pray. Listen. Act.

Each step is pretty important and is only a force for good when combined with the others.

It seems there are many versions of the truth out there. How can we separate fact from fiction?

Growing up in the ancient of days like I did, you know with only one TV on in the house at a time and everyone watching the same thing (and having 5 channels to choose from!), we were used to voting on what we watched.

Of course, parent’s votes always carried much more punch than did the kid’s votes.

This resulted in enduring through documentaries and science discoveries and news programs from time to time. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would actually CHOOSE these programs. Not when The Dukes of Hazard was on the other channel.

Recently, though, we had a pretty good laugh in our home when the kids came in and asked what I was watching. Before realizing it I told them it was “this really interesting documentary about Salt Lake City in the 1940s.”

Their looks took me back immediately to my childhood and I knew exactly how they were feeling.

We all laughed as we realized that I had become old. Well, I guess they have known it for some time. Maybe the laughter was about the fact that I was now up to speed with the rest of them.

What changed?

Did they learn how to make documentaries or news programs more interesting in the last 30 years? Maybe.

But then wouldn’t my kids find them interesting too?

I think the change wasn’t in the programs so much as it was in me.

While grabbing something to eat, I will actually turn to the news channels first to see what is going on in the world. I’m interested now. I care about what decisions are being made, what changes are coming, what problems people are dealing with.

During times of breaking news I will switch to different news channels during commercials so that I don’t miss any information.

Have you ever tried that?

What is so interesting to me is often how different the coverage and spin is on the exact same news stories.

What one station will blare as breaking news the other station will not even be covering it. Or the blame lies squarely on one party, only to be shifted to the opposite party on a neighboring station.

Aren’t they reporting on the same story?

Maybe you’ve seen the commercial that has been on for years now about insurance. The person is quoting misinformation as if it is fact. When asked where she got her information, she replies “The Internet. Everyone knows that you can’t put anything that isn’t true on the Internet.”

There may have been a day when we thought that. Not so much anymore.

There are people who purposefully put much out there that is, at best misleading, and at worst direct lies.

Depending on which station or newspaper you use really depends on what “truth” you are made aware of. It seems easier to find sources that support our perceptions and validate our opinions than it is to find a source that will simply and forthrightly tell the truth.

So, what do we do?

I feel that now more than ever before in the history of the world we have the responsibility to be educated and informed. There are many who depend on the masses being too busy and too tired to pay very close attention to what is going on. That leaves them free to quietly make changes in one area while others are focused on different things.

For example, Vladamir Putin was probably quite relieved to find the intense focus on the problems in Ukraine to shift immediately over to the missing Malaysian airplane.

Just because the news reports have shifted, doesn’t necessarily mean the problems have stopped.

How do we sift through it all and get down to the truth, the real truth?

I’m sure it sounds naïve and old fashioned, but that’s okay (remember my kids helped me understand that I am now officially “old”), but I only know of One source of pure truth.

While there isn’t a Heavenly news channel that we can just flip on as we have time and partially listen to as we are doing other things, there is a source that we can tune in to and know for ourselves.

I’ve discovered that there is genuine interest and help when I study things out and quietly take some time to talk it over with Someone I completely trust, Someone who knows, Someone who sees.

I’m sure I’ll make mistakes in my understanding and interpretations and get things wrong at times.

But I will also get it right sometimes.

Then I will understand, and I will see.

Don’t we all have the responsibility to open our eyes and see what is going on? Once we understand the truth of things, then we are prepared to act.

“Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”

I think evil has been thriving long enough.

 

We can actually know for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. It takes a lot of work and consistency. When we let our guards down we can get swept up with the tide pretty quickly. But maybe it being so hard to do is part of what makes it so important.

When each of us steps up and does our small but unique part, it is enough.

Together, we all see the truth, the real truth.