By Bob Whitten
While I continue to struggle with today’s society, sometimes even wanting to circle around my own family and shut the world out, I also realize that I have to BE the change that I want to see in this world.
I see examples of people who can balance their self-reliant lives with their duty as an American citizen to make things better every day. Giving back to others in need in our local area is not only good for our society, but it’s good for our souls.
Just one example is a friend of mine, Ed. He has a great family, a descent paying job, and is about to retire — to live out his days with loved ones the way we all hope it will be. Ed has seen the underbelly of our society, even worked from within it, so why wouldn’t he be fed up with this world after 40-plus years of dealing with it? No one could blame him if he bought 80 acres of woods, put up a big fence, and closed off from the world.
Ed has a passion for gardening. When his life finally slowed down, he did something that made us all think twice — he joined in with a community garden right down the road from me. He had many skills in the garden, and he uses that experience to help others. He plants many veggies from seed in his little greenhouse — much more than he could ever use — and he gives these plants away to his community, along with tilling and planting help. If he sees you or hears that you want to garden in this community plot, he is there for you.
Who knows how many people my friend Ed has helped? Even if it’s just a handful, even if it is one family that is struggling to make ends meet, trying to save money by growing their own food, I say it’s worth every bit of time Ed puts into this project. And that’s just one of the things my friend does to help people. I found out last year that some of his leftover produce finds its way to our local homeless shelter. Ed would never brag about this stuff, so I did some digging on my own. Turns out Ed volunteers once a month at that shelter, strapping on an apron and cooking for people who really need him.
How many Eds are there in this great country of ours? How does someone who has seen so much negativity — someone who has seen how ugly our society can be — still have a love for his fellow citizens? How does a person not get tainted to the point of closing the doors on our society when he finally has the means to do it?
One more question. How can I be more like Ed? I want to contribute, but people have disappointed me, and I have been affected greatly by all the crap our society has thrown at me. But still, I want to help. I want to help make this world a better place. I want to never take for granted what I do have. At 53 years old, I am thinking about these things, and I truly want to be more like my friend Ed.
Folks, look around. If you are at a point where you can give back I encourage you to take this responsibility into your own hands and do your part. When the stuff hits the fan — and it will — maybe that family down the road will survive just because you cared enough to show them how to be self-sufficient. In order to change what we don’t like, we must sometimes be that change. Just one compassionate person doing the right thing really can make a difference!
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Speak up in the comments section below.