Because We Can

It’s my belief we’re put here to do good with what we’re given.  I believe responsibility taken for choices we make lends to a richer and certainly a more mature existence.  And, for those who might not agree, it’s my belief that, at a minimum, we’re not put here to bring misery to others.  If you can’t do good, at least don’t allow your legacy be a sum of the harm you’ve done to others.  With that mindset, I do try – and believe we all should – to remember that we never know what another goes home to.

Very rarely do we stop long enough to remember that “statistics” are actually based on people, their experiences and their lives.  We never know if the neighbor three houses down is one of those women who make up the 5 million abused wives.  And if we don’t know that, then we certainly don’t know that she’s left her abusive husband and is now staying in a homeless shelter.

Do you know who the families are in your community who are missing a husband and father or wife and mother because of a choice made to join the military and who is now overseas?  You might not know it, but there’s a very good chance this decision, noble and unselfish, is also equated to a financial burden for the family as a whole.

When I worked with Mississippi’s two largest employers, there was an annual United Way drive.  This was important to me then and when I struck out on my own two years ago, that was something that I felt was missing on a personal level.  It was never much I could contribute; and even now, I wonder sometimes whether or not my small contributions really make a difference (even though I know they really do on some level).

It was important to me that I find some way to continue to make, small as it is, a difference.  I chose two organizations that were close to my heart for a few reasons.  Again – it’s important to me.  I contribute to the USO; my dad is a Vietnam vet and my family has always been incredibly supportive of our country’s military.  The USO is dedicated to our country’s military and tries to keep in mind the human aspect of all those statistics and numbers.

I also chose McKemie Place.  It’s a local shelter for homeless women and is the only overnight shelter in Mobile, AL.  It’s relatively new, but in two years, it’s helped more than 500 women whose options before included remaining in an abusive household or sleeping on the streets.  While I have never faced being homeless, I do know the fear that’s in the heart of these women.  The agency provides meals, job referrals and helps women pick up the pieces of what once was their lives.

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a great time to take a step back from our lives and recognize that while we’re not trying to make anyone else’s life difficult, there are things we can do for others to make theirs a bit better.  Search your soul and then choose an agency or cause that’s worthy.  Choose local or national – whichever you prefer and do it for the right reasons.

As usual, you know I’m going to have a clip from a classic movie that fits this post.  Magnificent Obsession, written by Lloyd C. Douglas, was made into a movie in 1935 and then remade nearly twenty years later in 1954.  The 1954 version starred Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.  Fantastic movie and in my list of Top 5 all-time faves, no doubt.  Rock Hudson learns the importance of doing good just because he can.

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