The election has ended and the votes have been counted. Love it or hate it, President Obama has been relected. And now, it is time to move on. Grumbling and growling about your choice not winning or as someone put it today, having a "nanny nanny boo boo" attitude because your choice won, only serves to further divide an already severely fractured country. "United we stand, divided we fall", isn't how the saying goes? So, while we may agree or disagree on the results of the election, we need to stand united, because I for one, don't want to fall.
The fact remains that there needs to be a change and I believe my friends, that change must start with we, the people. It the wake of the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, many have stepped forward to donate and support the victims of this tragedy. Within the first day, musicians banded together to do a benefit concert. Churches have opened their doors for donations of food, clothing, water, and basic necessities, then caravaned deliveries to the hardest hit places in New York and New Jersey. Here in Maryland, the day after the storm left its footprint, our church put together a group willing to go out into the community and help with debris cleanup. This appears to be what we as Americans and Christians do in the wake of tragedy at home or abroad. These devastating incidents as well as others such as 9/11 have people reaching deep and wide to help the victims.
But why does it take a tragedy the magnitude of a hurricane, earthquake or terrorist plot to get people interested in helping? All one needs to do is look around their communities, on the street corners and in our schools to see tragedy. These terrible economic times have wreaked havoc on so many people. A vicious cycle ensues, losing a job equals inability to pay your bills, by grocercies, pay your rent or mortage and thus lands many into the world of the forgotten--the homeless.
My son, RC, met a man and his wife on the Wednesday after the storm while standing in a parking lot. He said as the couple approached they were smiling while pulling a fold up grocery cart behind them. Immediately, RC started patting his jeans for any cash or change he had, but he was empty. He looked at the couple, smiled and said, "How are you today?" The man stuck out his hand and shaking my sons, said, "We're fine. How are you?" Then the man asked, "How'd you make out in the hurricane?" My son explained that he had faired well with no power loss or damage and then almost embarrassed to ask, he asked the couple, "How bout you?" The man shook his head and still smiling said, "We survived in a tent. We're homeless so we didn't have much to lose but we did lose the tent." My son, not knowing exactly how to reply said, "I'm so sorry. I wish I could help you but I don't have any cash on me." The reply the man gave, brought tears to RC's eyes. "Don't be sorry. I'm not looking for pity; pity doesn't solve anything. We owned a home in Joppatowne; I lost my job and unemployment couldn't cut it. I've never had a drink of alcohol or used a drug in my life. The only thing I can say I am guilty of is wanting the American dream. All I can tell you, young man, is appreciate everything you have; never take it for granted because it can be here one day and gone the next." TRAGEDY...
RC relayed this story to me with tears still in his eyes. He said what the man said to him would impact him for the rest of his life. While he, RC, was feeling bad for not being able to help the couple with money, the man just wanted to inspire him. RC admitted that he prejudged the couple, automatically assuming they were panhandling and most likely homeless because of some addiction. He couldn't have been more wrong. Tragedy doesn't discriminate and it could hit anyone of us at anytime.
The politicians will take care of politics whether we agree with them or not, but as the people of the great country, we have a responsibility to each other. The president can't dictate who or how we love one another. So lets control the things we still have power over, our love and generosity.
Matthew 25:34-40 says, Then the King will say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?"
The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
So how do we do this? The old saying goes, What's the best way to eat an Elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME! So that's how we do it, one bite at a time. Every community has a food pantry and while there are drives to fill the pantries during Thanksgiving, people need to eat every day, not just on a holiday. Homeless shelters, need blankets, pillows, and funds to keep running. As you pass by a person standing on the corner with a sign, don't prejudge them, you don't know their story; buy them a meal or give them a donation. What they do with the money is on them, not you.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is hungry and not sure where their next meal will come from. Walk out into the cold wind without a coat and imagine living like that throughout the winter. And when you crawl into your nice warm bed, imagine your are lying on the cold hard ground. One bite at a time, is all it takes to eat the elephant of poverty in our community.
I've included some links to local outreach programs in our community. Please take the time to visit them and see how you can help. Remember...UNITED WE STAND...DIVIDED WE FALL.
Until next time, I'm standing!
Check with your local churches as well! Let's get chewing!!