rainy days and thursdays
to dare to tread upon another cliche question, i sometimes think that what separates us from the animals is our innate and collective disposition to care for others other than ourselves, and to be able to draw that circle far wider than any other species. (you've seen the feel-good photos of lions adopting baby antelopes, but, seriously, the reason such photos are remarkable is for how rare the occurrence, and how acutely such photos touch OUR emotions of caring well above that of the lion's). some/many/most/all of us have our pet charities, (no pun intended), and some of us are like betty white and devote our largest share of time to other species, which is a beautiful thing when you think about it, while still more of us are like jerry lewis and see greatest need among various groups of people facing their various special challenges. sunday, i'll be at the chelmsford elks supporting one particularly important friend in need, carter clements, (http://www.carterclements.com/february_26_fundraiser), and undoubtedly feeling profoundly grateful for being able. (not to mention being able to share a hall with so many truly generous and beautiful people).
let's face it--life is so often a lemon, and no there's no sugar to make lemonade that we don't all make for each other. and even then it's sometimes never enough. but it's in our DNA to try. i sometimes think that the saddest people are the ones who never get the chance to feel that their lives are making a difference, even if that difference is simply to become all they can be to reward the generosity of those who have shared their lives and their love with them. i try to be patient and kind (i know i fall short all too often--but that's all the more reason to keep trying) and i try to help others do the same. kindness can be something as simple as waiting another five minutes, even if it is making you late, so that you can go together with someone somewhere, and let them know how much you will enjoy the time with them. or it can be something much more than that.
someone once told me the secret of doing for others was not to make it about feelings of guilt, but to make it about "do it until it feels good". i like that sentiment a lot. if you feel guilty for not doing something, or that you may not have done enough, you're thinking about things the wrong way. feel good about what you do for others, and make doing more a personal pursuit of happiness and feelings of life-meaning, not some sort of perverse escape from feeling you aren't doing enough. everything you do, every little thing you do, is enough in and of itself for the good that it does. and all big projects to help are nothing more than the sum of all the little individual things that are done in that aim. to help mankind is to do the smallest of things.
i will tell you, in my experience, it works. or, at the very least, by some odd cosmic coincidence, i'm happy anyway.
i just looked out my window, and it isn't raining anymore...