I am not an “Activist”….

I am not an “activist” in many respects – I do care about a variety of issues, and do what I can to support them (more on that later). But you will not see me wearing a pink shirt and walking a marathon for breast cancer. You will not see me with a ladle in my hands at a soup kitchen. You will not see me waving a banner or pushing pamphlets at a rally. You will not see me bandaging the injured, feeding the hungry, bathing the dirty, or involved in any other “humanitarian” acts. It’s not that I don’t believe in those things – I do, and I have done many of them.
I have been in the trenches, and choose to no longer be there. Not because I feel I have “served my time” and not because I don’t feel the cause is important. Nope. That’s not it. I have the utmost respect for those who have the heart, will and drive to do these things – these folks never cease to amaze me. Their passion inspires me. Their hearts, their sacrifice, their commitment, all bring a tear to my eye, and joy to my heart.
I am a firm believer that we all can and should do something to help others. Each of us will have different things that touch our hearts, in different ways. For some, it may be the homeless problem here in America, for others it may be world hunger or hunger more locally, still others may have a passion for women’s rights – the list is endless. When you find something that touches your heart, that makes you cry to think about – perhaps that is something that you should be doing something about, getting involved in some way, being a part – however small, of the solution.
Why don’t I “do”? What pathetic “excuse” do I have for not being one of those on the front lines? Well, first off, let me tell you how I am involved.
I am a writer, and I give my words – free of charge – to a few different “causes”. I get no payment, no credit and no recognition for those efforts – and that is the way I want it. I donate money – I believe that everyone, even those on the tightest of budgets can afford to give something. I look for other opportunities – food drives, clothing drives, blood donation, etc., ways to give “silently”. I have participated in charity events – both as a nameless/faceless person in the crowd and as an organizer/contributor. In short, I do what I can – I do what my time, finances and life allow me to do. And I have great admiration for those who do more. What I do is but a drop in a bucket – but tiny drops, added together, make up an ocean. I do not ask for applause for my little contributions – in fact, I prefer it be completely anonymous.
Why don’t I do more? This may sound like a cop out. This may sound like a piss poor excuse. But it’s my fact.
I don’t do more because I used to – I used to be one who was “out there” and “in your face” and on the front lines nearly every day. And I will tell you what. It hurt. When I went home every single day crying over the pain and fear I had witnessed, when every day had me torn apart because I couldn’t do enough, when I was literally physically ill because of the hurt I saw, I knew I had to stop. I have had my own home life ripped apart; my children’s lives impacted, friendships torn and the deepest hurt. I am only human. I can only survive so much. I can only be strong for so long. My heart is too soft, my weakness too great.
It doesn’t mean that I stopped caring. It doesn’t mean that I stopped doing. It just means that I changed the way I do it.
I’ve said before – “I’m just a little toe” – what I do may not seem like much, but if you ever doubt how vital that little toe is, ask someone who has lost theirs how much they miss it, how they had to relearn how to walk. And then remember this – there ARE no small parts. Each of us can and should do something, even if it’s a seemingly tiny thing.
Remember – drops in a bucket. Drop by drop, little bit by little bit, that bucket will fill up, and soon will over flow.
What “cause” am I touting? What great injustice am I wanting to be righted? What need am I begging filled?
That, my friends, is entirely up to you. All I am doing is trying in my own way to encourage each of us to take action, action that counts for something, action that has impact, and to get involved in some way.
Write a letter to your representatives, it costs less than a dollar. Give some canned goods to a food bank or homeless shelter. Donate some books to a library. Volunteer to read for the blind, or for children in the hospital. The list is endless. And don’t make it a one-time thing. Make a commitment. Make a promise to do something at least once a month, even if it’s a tiny something – but make it be something that counts, don’t just sign a petition – send a letter! Don’t just say, “I support that”, put some money where your mouth is. Don’t just give lip service, find some way to give of your time, talent or abundance (believe me – you have some that others don’t!) Once a month, that’s 12 times a year. That’s it. That’s simple. That’s not that hard to do.
But you’re going to find that it makes you feel good to make a difference. You’re going to find that you want to do more. And you’re going to be teaching your children an invaluable lesson.