- Posted August 22, 2013 by
Hope for the World
Oh but on a day like today 2000 years ago a little boy stood up in a crowd of thousands with a few loaves and a few fish and said,” I don’t have much and I am just a child but I will do what I can,” and thousands of hungry were fed. On a day like today a woman sat down weary from a day’s work and refused to stand up, and thousands marched for the right to simply live and be. On a day like today a little girl opened a lemonade stand and sold cookies for a quarter and that money, though tiny, was enough to buy a net to keep a child from getting malaria. Today a family forwent their vacation and chose to dig a well in Subsaharan Africa. Today a mother pulled over on the side of a busy intersection and said my husband is laid off, my family is on food stamps, but I have a bag of apples and a few pennies I can give. Today an old man took a day off the links and sat in a crisis center and answered a phone call, and today a young lady who could have any job she wanted signed the papers to serve in the Peace Corps instead. Today a busy worker took the time to call or write a Congressman and beg for more to be done. Today a pharmacist boarded a plane to a war zone with a few donated drugs and kissed his children goodbye not knowing if he would make it back in one piece. Today a family spent an hour on their knees in front of an Almighty Powerful God and asked for His Mercy and to see through His eyes. Today a single man happy with his life saw the foster care ad for the millionth time and picked up a phone and chose not to ignore that tugging at his heart for one more moment. Today a family gave up cable for a year and gave that money to sponsor an orphanage in Romania and a weary candy striper walked into a cancer ward and joked and laughed and gave hope to those with none. Today a homeless man who had nothing to give gave his smile to a weary traveler or shared his fire or box and showed that no matter how little we have there is always something that we can give.
Today we must choose to believe with the faith of little children that this world is not a place to survive but a place to embrace and love. Today we must believe that a man with 500 rounds of ammunition in an elementary school is not beyond hope and that a kind word can change everything. Today we must think that just like walking in to a boss in a bad mood can dampen our whole day and meeting a cashier at the end of that day who looks us in the eye and smiles can restore our good spirit that us, yes us, the old, fat, not smart enough, not rich enough, not educated enough, not in the right position with our bumps and bruises our failures and unending faults- that yes, even us, even you, even me, that yes I, I can make a difference no matter how small. That I can truly pay it forward, that even if I have nothing to give I will give my smile or my listening ear or my time or my prayers or my old toys or old medicine, my unused gift cards or my words, and that I will not let another year another month another day another moment pass without doing something, anything, so that that mother, that child, that father, that lonely old man that suicidal youth that young teen girl with an impossible choice to make know that they are not alone, that someone, anyone cares, that I care.
I will take the time to introduce myself to my neighbors. I will take the time to hear their woes and troubles, I will share in their joys and cry with them in their sorrows. I will teach my children that everyone, no matter what, deserves dignity and respect, because everyone is a creation of God. I will teach them that there is no problem too big to be solved, that our family or friends or neighborhood or state or nation or continent is not an isolated place, that when one suffers we all suffer and when one rejoices we all rejoice. I will ask God to increase my faith. I will not choose to give in. I will do whatever small thing I can do and I will believe that each of you will do the same and in the end, we will all be healed and whole.
I will follow the words of Prophet Muhammed who said “When you see injustice stop it with your hand, and if you cannot then with your voice, and if you cannot even that then at least hate it with your heart.” (Hadith Muslim) I will follow the teachings of Jesus that say, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat and I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink and I was a stranger and you took me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me I was sick and you looked after me and I was in prison and you visited me. For truly I tell you, that whatsoever you did for one of these brothers or sisters you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40) I will follow the Torah that says, “Give justice to the weak and fatherless, and maintain the right of the weak and destitute.” (Psalms 82:3-4) I will follow these great traditions though the world may seem to crash in around me, though I am only an ant trying to lift the whole of humanity on my shoulders. I will choose to make a difference even if only in one life, even though I might not see the results in my lifetime, I will chose to have faith like a little child, like a mustard seed, I will see the mountain of injustice and hate and poverty and prejudice and say, “ Be thou removed,” and I will believe that my friends and family in blood and faith and location will stand with me, and together we will see a brighter day to come.
I will choose to follow the silly antidote of the child on the beach, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of sea stars caught out of the tide on the sand, who walks along slowly on tottering tiny feet, throwing them back into the ocean one by one. I will chose to look at those who question me, who say,” Don’t you see how small you are, how many there are, you cannot save them all, you cannot make a difference here!” and I will respond, with a small voice but a powerful faith and throw one more and look doubt and hopelessness in the face and say, “ Yes, I cannot save them all, but I saved that one,” and I will continue on my way, small and weak and powerless, but I will continue, and if you will join with me, the impact will unending, the momentum unstoppable, and the future bright, for all of us, white and black, American and Syrian, poor and rich, Hindu and Muslim, Christian and Jew, young and old, all of us, no matter what labels we put on ourselves or others have placed on us, all of us, at our core the same, simply human.
Will you join me?