Monday, June 4, 2012


The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it. David Orr

I read this recently in a blog posted by a friend.  It has a depth of meaning to me that goes beyond the norm.  It pretty much says what my life has been and is all about.  '...moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.'  But this beautiful quote says little or nothing about the price one pays to do this.  The abuse one takes to succeed at this.  And the sacrifices one makes to succeed.

I look at those very few people around me who are doing this and doing this successfully.  There are more than enough people that pretend they are doing this, but underneath it all there is a hidden or unrealized motivation that really has nothing to do with  making the world more humane or habitable.  It is solely about the wrong things, the wrong reasons, the reasons that benefit them in some way.  How many people do you know that actually go out of their way to intentionally hurt people.  What in heaven's hame is their purpose?  Does it make them a better person, a bigger person, a more important person?  I should think not.  In fact quite the opposite.  I think it makes them a pathetic person.  One that should be pitied, not envied or applauded. An certainly not one that should be admired or emulated. 

Analyzing this a bit further...what does it mean when it says, needing 'people who live well in their own places?'  Does that mean that we who work for humanity and a better world, whether one person or hundreds at a time, are content?  Content where we are. Does it mean that we are happy with what we have and that our time is not spent laboring solely for our own profit and a bigger house, a newer car and all the approrpiate fashions and gadgets and fixin's to make us more important.  I think perhaps this is what he meant. How many people do you know that spend hours on end for people they do not know and never will meet and yet spend endless hours, for no pay, working for these very people?  How many?

I have spent hours in orientations with potential therapy dog teams, and I always ask up front why they want to do this.  What is their motivation?  What do they hope to gain from this.  The answers are brief, some curt, and some I feel are not really certain.  The trite answer has always been to take my dog to help others.  But I wonder what that means.

Having done this for more years than I care to admit, I find most fade out and away when they realize that it takes commitment and responsibility and a work ethic they just can't muster.  When it is realized that this isn't just a social party deal, but real effort is required, many disappear into the background.

So what does it take to join the fight to make the world more habitable and more humane?  I know for a fact that offering a hand to someone in great pain or grief makes the world a better place.  Listening to people when no one else will is making the world a better more humane place, loving children and animals who have been overlooked and ignored and tossed to the side is making the world more humane.  Treating others with kindness and respect and love whether they deserve it or not is making the world a better place.  Going out of your way to help a stranger, smiling at someone who you don't know, speaking kindly and softly to a person who is ordinarily ignored, doing the right thing for the right reason, putting yourself aside and being present for someone who needs you more than you might ever know is doing the right thing. 

It isn't all that hard or is it?  Can most people stop thinking about themselves long enough to even care about anybody else?  Sometimes it seems that we have lost the ability and the capability to care about others.  And as far as I am concerned being humane and making the world  a better place and more habitable takes effort. A great deal of effort, that most people won't choose to make. It takes time away from you being on facebook and tweeting and phoning and texting.  It takes effort to care.  It takes effort to make an effort.  How many people do you know that actually do this? How many people do you know with moral courage and integrity?  Who are a role model for others?  Who represent all that is right and good with this world. 

I think lately I have been in a puddle of the wrong kind of people.  People whose purposes to me have been suspect, and now proven.  Out of line, and certainly out of proportion.  People who have only self motivating purposes attached to their actions. 

So I release them and will find those who live on this earth with vitality and righteousness, and love and compassion for others...the real kind of compassion, not just the kind that makes you feel better.  For one cannot force compassion or fake it.  It is either there or it isn't.

People just want to be recognized and know they are of some matter to you.  Try it sometime.  Talk to a total stranger.  Make it your goal to make them smile.  For my friend they also, I guarantee you, are fighting some kind of battle too.  We all are.  If we are not there for each other and only sling mud and garbage at others then this world is not humane and habitable and hospitable.  And it truly will become a very sad and cold place to be. 

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