Saturday, January 20, 2007

Befelled By Life

I was driving home from the grocery store last night when I caught the tail end of a public service announcement on a local radio station. I'm not sure what tragedy has befell this certain family, but members of the community are being invited to a spaghetti feed to raise money for the family's needs.

It's unfortunate to say that these kinds of fund raisers are becoming both more typical and prevalent. I bet there are one or more such efforts taking place in this nation every single week of the year, every year. The simple fact that they have become so typical and prevalent offers a bad indictment on current society.

Each and every one of us may be a second away from a life-altering calamity. It's the nature of life. One minute everything is routine and the next minute our lives are turned upset down, never to return to a formal state of normal again.

Regardless of person's wealth or poverty, power or impotence, status or lack thereof, education or ignorance, or religious beliefs or non-religious perspective, each of us could be gripped by a strange malady, injured on the job in a freak accident or suffer some kind of debilitating condition.

Since these kinds of occurrences represent the norm, not the exception, it is sad that members of a community must go to extraordinary means to ensure the individual[s] and family are provided for in this time of dire need. Why don't we have this kind of assistance built in to the way our society operates?

My critique is not intended to fault the community members who come to the rescue of their friends and neighbors. Quite the opposite, such people should be commended for their compassion. It's just odd that such events require herculean efforts by a small portion of the community and not the community as a whole.

For me, I will return to a theme I've written of many, many times. It is the fact that far too many of us view ourselves as separated from the whole, the Tao. Consequently, an injury to one person or entity (e.g., the environment) is not viewed as an injury to ourselves.

If, on the other hand, we viewed all reality as part of one ultimate reality, then the calamity that befalls my neighbor is the same calamity that befalls me. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made this same point when he wrote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I long for the day when we don't need to hold fund raiser suppers or benefit concerts for those amongst us beset with tragedy. Instead of needing to plan and implement special activities, the community would automatically come to the aid of each sister and brother. This aid would be given freely with no strings attached.

1 comment:

  1. Like the t-shirt and poster about holding bake sales for the military instead of our schools...

    yes, we ought to be taking care of each other - we need national health care and its a shame we are the only industrialized nation not to provide it. It sucks that there are still so many assholes who scream, "Socialism!" as if it were something horrible.

    What's wrong with taking care of each other already?


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