Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's Your Call.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today in our school book club.... wait. That is probably confusing, isn't it? It's a FACULTY book club at the school. There. Much better.  Annnywayyy.... we started discussing Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" and a few thoughts started rumbling in my brain.

If you aren't familiar with the book, it's sort of a summary of the German ambassadorship of William E. Dodd and what was occurring in and around his family in Hitler's Berlin. The interesting thing for me about this book was that it's not set during the height of the war. Dodd served in 1933...at the beginning of the Hitler's reign and before anyone really knew what was going on around them. Everyone discounted the stories as rumors at first. Life for the average person was largely unchanged, so it seems completely impossible that any of the "crazy" stories were actually true.

But the thing that came up in our book club discussion a couple times was the idea that some may have been aware of something wrong, but didn't always step up to protect those around them. We likened it to today's "getting involved" when there's something going on with your neighbors.

I'm sorry. That was a long road to my point. But the book was the catalyst!

Stepping into a sticky situation is difficult. And stepping into someone ELSE'S sticky situation sometimes seems even more sticky. How many times do we choose to not get involved? How many stories do we hear on the news every day where something awful was occurring right next door and the neighbors are interviewed saying "Well, we thought he was strange." or "They never seemed to come outside."  Or worse, "We always knew she wasn't treating those children right, but we didn't know what to do."

In those cases it seems so clear that the people should have stepped up and done something, doesn't it? They should have righted the wrong. Been a good citizen.

But let's take it down further. What about the much smaller things? The ones that take on more of a gray hue on the clarity scale.

For example:

How many times have we looked the other way when someone needs help on the side of the road?

Or when we haven't given the homeless person on the curb the dollar bill that might change his life?

What about seeing someone ahead of you in the checkout line who can't afford all his/her groceries and has to have the checkout person put something aside?

I guess I'm just asking myself how involved I want to get in changing the world. Do I want to make a difference? Do I want to be willing to stand up for the little things and get involved in the big things? Not to stick my nose into everything - but to genuinely be of assistance when God gives me the opportunity - regardless of notoriety or anonymity? I don't think in good conscience I could answer those questions with a "no"... How about you?

So for me and my house.....we will be erring on the side of goodness. Leaving the world a better place and not being afraid to step up and get involved when needed.

(Some of you cynics are thinking about the other side. I know you are...  So let me add this:
And what the receivers of the goodness do with it, is up to them. Let's hope they pay it forward...)


♥ Sarah ♥ said...

I love this post! I also love random acts of kindness...it feels great and I can imagine the day I would have if someone did something random like pay for my groceries!

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