During the past year-heck, longer than that-before my mother died, I have felt like I have been standing in quicksand, eager to free myself, to break free, but unable to do so. I bet many of you feel the same way.
There is too much . . . just too much going on in our lives, and in this world, for us to process.
Too much hatred
Too much anger
Too much bitterness
Too much fear
Too much work
Too much strife
Too much debt
Too much killing.
And there is too little:
Many readers know that I do not have television. I am happy about this, ecstatic actually. Yes I am on Facebook, too much, but I do not watch videos of beatings, killings, or terrorists slaughtering innocents. We are commanded to guard our heart, and violent images deposited into my heart quickly harms my soul. Be careful little eyes what you see, because once seen we cannot un-see.
Friends, I do not have the answer to why this is happening, but I do know this. . . Jesus is coming, and soon. I am helpless to change any of the violence and I know myself well enough to realize that if I had television I would plug in and watch, helpless, and pretty soon negativity, bitterness and hopelessness would creep into my soul.
This I will not allow.
I do not watch, nor do I share images or video links of violence on Facebook, nor do I tweet popular hashtags (although I will use them in this blog post for emphasis).
Social media is not activism.
Unless you are posting live as you march through the streets of Atlanta for change, social media is the safe (and lazy) way most folk use to puke their opinion, then sit back and feel better while friends comment, or agree by pressing the word LIKE.
We have become a lackadaisical – yet fearful- group of souls, and once afraid we withdraw when what we really should do is release our fear and go forth bravely.
Yes. Bravely. Unplug and do something.
But I changed my Facebook photo to the color of the French flag, you say.
Not to be harsh but no one cares.
Be The Change means do something.
Something. . . anything other than Like another post.
No, I don’t expect you to stop terrorists, but I do expect you to stop posting on Facebook all day. I do expect you to get up out of your chair and give.
Use words if necessary.
Use money if necessary.
Hundreds of small businesses are struggling. Support them. #BuyLocal shouldn’t be just another hashtag slogan. Buy Local falls into the Love Thy Neighbor category. Don’t feel sorry when a small business in your community closes if you have done nothing to help them keep the doors open!
This includes authors and artists who are barely getting by.
Recently I saw an author’s selfie. She was standing in a room of empty chairs. No one had attended her reading (this happens often, has happened to me).
She could have lied. She could have said, “Great event today.”
But she was honest.
She was real. She posted a photo of the empty room and said, “No one came.”
She displayed her fear to us and in doing so she claimed dominion over it. Afterward many commented they had purchased her books. Buy the book of a #lesserknownartist, read it, and then give it away.
Children are hungry. Summer is a time when many children do not receive adequate nourishment. Find a church making lunches during Bible school activities. Buy a loaf of bread, or better yet, volunteer to pack lunches. School supplies are also needed. Seek out the poorest school near you and buy supplies.
Our elderly are in crisis. If you are concerned about the future, imagine how the elderly feel. They are scared . . . petrified.
Open your eyes.
Let them teach you how to love (they are experts).
Go to any Kroger or other grocery store on Wednesday, which is usually senior citizen’s day. Watch. Look. Help. The need is great and you, yes you, are powerful.
You ARE The Hope someone has been praying for. Don’t you realize that?
Buy gift cards.
Keep them in your wallet.
Give them away.
To the cashier.
To the waitress.
To anyone you meet over the age of 60.
This is what it means to BeTheChange. You may think a ten dollar gift card won’t make a difference, but I promise you it will.
Take your children. Make this an adventure. Make it a game. “Let’s see who we can help today.”
You can do this. I believe in you.
I believe in us.
Let’s teach our children to be givers.
Let’s face it, you know someone who is struggling . . . we all do.
Someone facing job loss.
Someone with a broken family.
You know where they live. Yes, you.
Step outside of your personal circumstance. Send them a card for Pete’s sake. Include a gift card. Order a pizza delivered to their house (how easy is that?). Send flowers. Hide surprises in their mailbox. Cut their grass while they are at work or at the doctor then slip on back home and act surprised when they tell you about it.
This week I send you out on a mission. For this mission you need two things: Twenty Dollars and courage. That is my challenge. Take twenty dollars and give it away. Of course you can split it into two tens and double the blessings, of course you can give more if your budget allows. Today, after reading this blog, unplug from the fear and hatemongers and the incessant negative noise. Go forth and be a blessing. Then later, mosey on back and share your story. Inspire others. You have shared the bad news in the world on Facebook and Twitter, go now share something good. Share this post. Share your story. I have a sneaking suspicion that during the process of being a blessing it is you who will also be blessed.
Let us boldly fight fear with love. Because as the hashtag says, #LoveWins. Love always wins.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author of three non-fiction books and a collection of short stories. You can order, or download her work here.