Life is good.
I am sitting in my car in a fashionable South Florida suburb. All around me, it's pouring rain...the kind that makes it impossible to see the road in front of...heck I couldn't even see the hood of my own car. There is lightening hitting on the other side of the road. Thunder cracking so loud it startles me even though I know it's coming.
And yet, I am warm and dry and safe. An iced tea beside me. Music on the stereo. And a full bar connection to the Internet on my wireless laptop. My cell phone fully charged and sitting on the seat beside me. A warm and safe apartment waiting for me when the rain finally stops and I can see to drive home.
And life is bad.
As I sit here complaisantly enjoying the fruits of technology, I am aware that in the hospital just behind this strip mall there are people fighting for their lives. Family members wishing for one more chance to say all they never got around to saying before time ran out. And probably within a mile or two of me, there is someone who is hungry and has no money to buy food or to feed their hungry child.
The one of the Noble Truths in Buddhism is that suffering is a part of life. And that we have a choice to accept that fact or to make it even worse by dwelling on the injustice of the suffering. Judaism and Islam teach us that while suffering is a part of life, releaving suffering is our duty on earth -- in large part the means by which we will be judged. And someone once said that it is impossible for me to become sad enough to make another happy, sick enough to make another well, or poor enough to make someone wealthy.
So what are we supposed to do? Thank G-d that we are among the fortunate? Bless our good kharma for our easy life? Say that when we have time we will do something?
I few days ago, I posted a blog about how much the small efforts matter. Now I am going challenge myself and you who are reading this blog to put those quotes into action. By doing small things with great love.
Starting today...right now...not tomorrow...make a small difference. Even the busiest among us can do one small thing every day. Instead of bemoaning hunger, buy one extra can of food and put it in the food bank bin. No more excuses about how that won't make a difference. It will. Run an errand for a neighbor. Ask about a co-worker's sick child and bring a small treat to cheer them. Call your legislator to encourage them to vote for a loving and caring law, or to thank them for voting against a bad one. Pick up a piece of trash in the park. Take a bag of pet food to your local animal shelter...or even just a single can. Leave a book for someone to find in a laundrymat -- and write a note telling them that it is for them to keep. Read to a child. Hug a neighbor. Put your change in the Ronald McDonald bin at the drive-through.
Make it your mission to do one act of kindness every day. Don't wait for someone to ask you. The Qu'ran says that we should not only help those who ask for help, but should seek out those in need who will never ask.
Live your faith, whatever it is. Be someone who mattered, even if, on the day you die, no one ever knows your name.