February 5, 2014
I am amazed by what appears to be happening to me in recent weeks. All of a sudden I seem to have a supernatural concern for others; something I cannot really explain and if continues, I will keep writing about it. A couple of days ago, I was thinking about my next post; actually worried about it as I have been screwing it up as you may have noticed, and then a perfect quote appears in an e-mail that was really a condensation of what I had wanted to say.
Now, today, I got a notice that a friend of mine had posted something on her FaceBook page for the rest of us to read. I will quote her in a minute, but first I had to add my two cents worth and was startled to read a response to my thoughts. It really made me think. My comment was rather basic and here is a quote of what another person added: "But how can we change the hearts of those who are heartless? We are so few and they are so many?"
This started with a comment by my friend: "We as a society want to "blame" someone for our country's lack of 'values'. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to be strong and instill values that will not be swayed, strength and values that they will teach to their children. If we want to change the world in which we live, we are going to have to change the examples we set and the way we raise the next generation. It's the only way to make a difference..."
On second thought, I could have added a simple "Amen" and went about my day.
It seems to me that Kim (my friend) was right about the 'blame game' that so many among us seem to enjoy; assessing blame to the other guy. If you read as many newspapers as I do, you will find it common place among a majority of writers in virtually all of their newsworthy articles. It troubles me because of my age. I have always liked to think of myself as a world changer, always trying to come up with a better idea to apply to the problems we face, but I don't have that many days left to continue that practice. And I will be leaving it to my children and a bunch of grandchildren to clean up the mess. That's not fair. When I was a child our nation went to war and defeated three other nations that were intent in destroying all that our fore-fathers had created. They did it in short order and we were able to return to normal. It appears to me that - as a nation, we are doing very little to clean up the messes created by my generation and the one that followed. I can understand the thoughts of the person responding to Kim's statement.
A few years ago I discovered something in my house that I never really noticed. In fact, there were several and as I became aware of them, I had to stop and examine my own thinking about many of the problems we face. That "thing" was a mirror. The "man in the mirror" is responsible for many of these problems. I began to change my way of thinking. Since I was not personally responsible for the really big messes, I started looking at them as opportunities. Rather than fussing at those I thought might be responsible, I began searching for people who were in a position to bring about change. And I didn't go to them expecting they would; I merely encouraged them to take a closer look at the opportunities and with few exceptions, I was thanked for my interests and heard that they would consider my thoughts. To this day, I continue this practice. My prayer is that others might do the same.
So, to answer the young man with a very serious question, I would have to say that I have seen a few really heartless people in my day. I used to visit "death row" in Nashville and found within those ranks, a man who had been changed by the experience and worked to educate himself so that now - by the grace of God, his sentence has been overturned and he will soon be released.
But an overwhelming numbers of the people I have met in the eight plus decades of my life, are just like you and me. We all have "hearts" and the only thing that will help others to reveal theirs is for you and I, our friends and neighbors, to offer them encouragement.
Life has taught me that there are ups and downs in the lives we live, some days are better than some others, but as long as we keep an eye in that person we see in the mirror, and offer encouragement, you might you might be surprised to observe how many others are out there.