Originally uploaded by kharms5253
I really am excited about this holiday season. There's a lot of things to be thankful for and grateful for this year. Things that have gone well...a lot of joy to share.
And yet...there's so many things that break my heart. Earlier this week I recieved notice that one of my former professors is in the last stage of cancer. She's dying. I didn't know her very well because I took one weekend seminar from her a few years ago. But that class left its mark. It changed the way I look at the world and it opened my eyes to a lot of issues; issues that take place just around the corner. Issues that we don't always think are issues because we're accustomed to how the world works.
She challenged us to think outside the box and to look at society from a different perspective. It's because of her I learned about the various issues of poversity in the states and what can and can't be done. That weekend seminar certainly brought to light a lot of things...problems that I didn't really know were problems.
To me...someone purchasing food on welfare stamps was the norm...so I didn't think anything of it. I didn't connect welfare with my belief that people shouldn't ever go hungry at night...should never have to wonder whether or not they'll have enough to make it through the week. Yet, there's a lot of families...neighbors, friends, strangers and enemies who suffer. Some would argue that there are no rights...that the right to have something provided is really not a right...it's something that society made up to make us feel better and sleep better at night. I disagree. Maybe that's because I have a Christian perspective on things...all life is valued. After all, weren't we commanded to love our neighbors and our enemies?
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan –– to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. "
- Abraham Lincoln March 4, 1865 (Second Inagural Address)
This is what my professor taught. This is what she opened my eyes to see. I'm grateful for the little time I had with her and the time I spent that weekend learning and absorbing everything from that course. I feel more challeneged now than ever before to turn what I learned into action. Something more tangible than sending a check somewhere each month...rather using my time for better purposes than watching TV or reading online articles. That even the smallest act of kindness goes a long way.
It's like when I was Korea: All we did was take people out for walks twice a day. It didn't seem like much and we felt like we could do so much more with the residents. But that wasn't to be...instead, those small outings were some of the most cherished moments. They were little to use...but huge to the people we were helping.
I am excited for this holiday season...but it is a bittersweet holiday. Celebrating the birth of Christ while saying good-bye to someone who made a significant impact on my life. It seems that Winter brings that out in all of is...it's a season of celebration and happiness in the midst of cold dreary weather. If I haven't said it recently...then I need to say it now and more often. I'm grateful and thankful for everything and everyone (good and bad, known for a long time or a short time) who I've crossed paths with. Thank you for being you.