It's so easy to watch the news like it's a movie, like it's all make believe. But when you know it's not just a movie, when you know that people are hurting and scared and broken hearted, it seems you ought to do something. It's hard to know what to do, though. As many ideas as flood my brain normally (a flood that normally makes people crazy trying to deal with me) it's hard not to sense my own limitations while I watch the new stories from New Jersey and New York after Sandy went through. It's chilly here in Charlotte, which means that it's likely cold at night up north. And their power is off and everything is wet.
I am so selfish so much of the time, so spoiled. Maybe it owes to being told so many times that life is dedicated to making us happy--a damn lie, for sure. We all have problems that we deal with, but I dare not whine about much right now. I need to do something that doesn't make more problems than I fix. I like to think that I would be one of the folks helping everybody in the neighborhood out, but if I'm cold and wet, I might just become cranky and selfish. The reality, though, I'm still a whiner sitting around being cranky about my son stopping up the toilet and letting it overflow onto the bathroom floor (sheesh I hate cleaning up THAT water). And while I whine, the news report is about the oily, murky, sewage infested flood water flowing through neighborhoods.
What I hate about being able to watch the aftermath of the disaster is that I can conceivably watch almost like it's a t.v. mini series and not get involved except with some sick voyeuristic pseudo sympathy. It drives me crazy that I can't just go and make something better, fix something, do something, show my kids what it's like to do something. That's the trick, I guess. While I really want to help, and really should, I have to get inside my own head and heart just a bit because sometimes the impulse to help can be just as selfish as if I think the world is dedicated to make me happy. I don't want to be the guy who gets all sanctimonious about how much i can help, how much I want to help. I'm such a snivelling little bitch for thinking my floor covered in poop water is a real problem; I'm also so silly for how much I sometimes think the world needs me just because I'm me. A little humility on the helping front would go far for me, spiritually. But that's my personal problem. The bottom line is that people are hurting and it isn't about me, now is it? I had better pay attention it seems to me. We all had. Disasters like Sandy make us question our motives for sure, but they challenge us to act in spite of ourselves, in spite of our doubts about ourselves, and in the end, who cares why we help when the need is this big? The point is to get something done.
So, our next Connecting Road event out at Birdsong Brewing Company is November 12. We'll take up a collection to send to relief efforts in the areas affected by Sandy. We'll send whatever we collect to the United Methodist Committee on Relief because they are one of the most efficient relief organizations around. 100% of our contributions go to the relief efforts, no overhead or administrative costs come out of the contributions at all. It's a start, anyway.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope we can do better than just making some donations; I hope we can go and work to contribute. Maybe that's a far better way to live life anyway--just trying to contribute without wanting anything for it.