What Makes You Cry Over Dinner

I was having a discussion with a friend and co-worker today and it got me thinking.

We were talking about charitable organizations and causes we felt called to support. What got us on the subject was the horrific devastation (is there any other kind) spawned byTyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines late last week.

The number of dead, the devastation of lives, goes beyond the body count. It’s too much for me to fathom and I find myself having to look away from the images of children lined up behind airport gates, hungry and dirty, waiting for relief from benevolent nations.

Heartbreaking. The other night I was eating my supper while choking back tears. It didn’t feel fair for me to eat…yet I knew this was not a rational thought. But suffering of this magnitude is not rational. Or comprehensible.

So I do what I usually do when I feel helpless for others…I try to find a way to act. Granted, I’m not flying to the Philippines, but I researched charities and determined which one to send a donation to so I could help.

Yet, there’s a little guilt here, too. Because I know my small check is a drop in the proverbial bucket, a whisper of hope sailing on the winds of despair. But it’s what I know to do for now.

But back to my discussion with my friend. We talked about local charities and those that benefited people in foreign countries such as the Philippines or in Africa where AIDS and poverty and violence and rape are part of a daily culture.

And we talked about how some people believe it is best to support your own community, your neighborhood, the people and causes in your own back yard before anywhere else. I’ve heard many people express this sentiment.

I disagree. I don’t believe we should judge how others choose to express their humanity. I believe people should choose causes, passions, people they are drawn to, near or afar, and advocate on behalf of them.

What keeps you awake at night, what stirs your heart, what makes you cry over dinner when you watch the six o’clock news, is what you should pay attention to in my book.

In Tao Flashes, the book I released last year, I wrote a passage on community.  In it, I say, “When we begin to define our community as a global village, we see there are no real boundaries. There is less need to protect and more cause to engage.

“I once heard a reporter ask a well-known movie star why she adopted babies from a foreign land, and not here in the United States, within her own community. And she replied beautifully, saying she saw the entire world as her community.

“When we open up our eyes and our hearts to others, whether they live three blocks away or reside on a remote mountaintop in India, we can come to know the real definition of community. It is then that love unites, leaving nothing to divide us.”

So, my point is this: let your love be limitless. Reach out to the far corners of the world, or to your neighbors down the street.

Do what moves you. If it is teaching adults to read, rescuing animals, volunteering in soup kitchens, stopping violence against women, disaster relief, advocating for children, do it. Just remember this: Love has no boundaries.

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read my book Tao Flashes.  Or visit me at www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.

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6 thoughts on “What Makes You Cry Over Dinner

  1. I realized many years ago that I was the kid who always hated that someone did not get a chair during a game of “Musical Chairs.,” What makes me “cry” over dinner is injustice of any kind.
    The prevailing rule is still the Golden Rule, so just give…your little donation, given with true compassion, may be the proverbial “widow’s mite,” but every bit counts toward the greater sum. There are many causes, many ways to give. It can be overwhelming and as you noted Lisa, often too hard to deal with when pictures such as these from the typhoon haunt us. Money is often the easiest thing to give; we write a check and we feel good. Nothing wrong with that. Time, energy and other resources? Not so easy to sacrifice! I believe in the interconnectivity of all things in the Universe. When others hurt, we all hurt. This includes caring for people, animals, the earth and so on. And, the often overlooked component of giving is learning that at times in our lives, we must also be gracious takers. Who knows what lies ahead in our individual journeys?

  2. Beautifully written. Love the title and especially, “a whisper of hope sailing on the wings of despair”.Wow…that’s major league

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