By now those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have come to realize a few things about me:
- I have been through a lot in life, yet I think of myself as a survivor, not a victim.
- I have not allowed my experiences to turn me bitter or my heart to stone.
- I have a huge repository of compassion, sympathy, empathy, kindness, and love for my fellow man.
- No matter how financially inadequate my life is, I still reach out to help others in any way that I can without asking for anything in return no matter how great my own need may be.
No matter what life throws at me, I am never too busy, too tired, or too engrossed in my own life to take on the task of helping someone else in need. I have no concept of what is or is not too difficult a task for my undertaking. When I see someone suffering or in need, I often times hear two different quotes play in my head such as the Golden Rule.
The “Golden Rule” was given by Jesus of Nazareth, who used it to summarize the Torah: “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” and “This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NCV, see also Luke 6:31).
Although we first hear of the Golden Rule as pertained to the Bible and part of Jesus’s teaching, as a society we tend to impose our own meanings into the definition. I am no different in that aspect than anyone else. For I believe that the Golden Rule is telling me to be kind, courteous, caring, considerate, friendly, forgiving, helpful, nice, and any other positive action verb you can think of towards other people. In my mind’s eye, it tells me that I need to act in a favorable way towards others because that is how I would want them to act towards me.
The next quote I hear in my head is about our neighbors.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
A good deal of the time this last quote is linked to the first. Again, as a society, we believe these two quotes have the very same meaning and call to action. They are meant to inspire and motivate us into positive deeds towards others. Regardless of your interpretation of these two quotes, your beliefs will boil down to your personal moral compass and where you place their teachings on the value scale.
Personally, these two quotes are at the top of my value scale. For lack of a better way of putting it, they are Golden. They are the reason for my very existence. They motivate me to live with integrity. Humble me to be grounded and centered. Implore me into action and finally, they help me to feel good knowing I could brighten someone else’s day.
I take these quotes quite literally as well. As some of you know, a few years back in my old town, I took in a homeless lady and her son. They stayed with us for 2 years. All the way up to the point we moved. I helped the lady get on her feet, obtain a job, gain back some self-confidence, and get somewhat of a footing underneath her. I even made sure they had a place to go once I left that house.
I did not do this for recognition, a sense of duty, accolades, or to gain something in return. I did it simply because I felt it was the right thing to do. We have so many homeless people in this world, I wanted to actually make a difference instead of just thinking about it, talking about it or handing out a few bucks and forgetting about it. I did not make excuses for why this would not work. I did not give up even when I felt things were not working out in a favorable manner. I got through it and made it work.
Way too many people walk right on by situations feeling it is not their responsibility, duty, or job to offer any help to others. They fail to realize they are placing themselves into the equation as part of the problem to be solved rather than being part of the solution.
I find myself now in another tough situation. I just found out a few days ago that one of my new neighbor’s has had no water in her home since August of 2017. That is 11 months without water. I cannot imagine going without water in my home for that long and not having anyone to help me figure out a solution.
Immediately after coming across this information, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” played in my head. I realistically imagined myself and my children in her situation and I felt a strong desire to help in any way possible. So with her permission, I started making posts on social media, making phone calls and emailing anyone I could get to listen.
I started thinking of the old days where there would be a disaster at someone’s house and all of the townsfolk would gather together to put out a fire using buckets or raise a barn in a day or two. This thought gave me a sense of longing for those old values to be more prominent in today’s world. But it also gave me a sense of purpose and a direction to steer my inquiries.
Through this experience, I have talked to some pretty amazing individuals who are banding together to come up with solid solutions for my neighbor’s water issue. People who have not asked for anything in return but simply wish to give of their time in an effort to help. This made me smile and reevaluate my original longing for those “Old ways.” I now have a renewed ideology that there are still people out there in society that maintain the same principals and belief system as myself. For this, I am very thankful.
I am confident that with so many individuals coming together as a collective group, we can “raise a barn in a day” or in this case, “dig a well.” My many thanks go out to everyone who has helped contribute information, time and effort into finding a solution to my neighbor’s water problem. Furthermore, we can show my neighbor that she is cared about and loved.