Sunday, October 19, 2008

Become part of the great whole...


A good friend of mine read my latest blog and commented, “My reaction, and probably that of most of your readers, is what can we do to give these children so talented with words and a keyboard some hope and a viable future?”

That is a great question. And one I would like to answer by introducing you to Gail, one of Infinite Family’s wonderful volunteer mentors.

This week, Gail wrote the following letter to the editor of her local paper:
“"It's all about me" is a slogan that reflects our current culture. This focus on ourselves and our need to have the biggest and the best has put our country into an economic crisis. It is time to rethink our priorities.

I have learned many wonderful things from a young woman I mentor in South Africa through Infinite Family. She lives in a shelter and washes her clothes in a tub in the yard. One of her greatest delights is taking food to "the poor." By our standards, she herself would be considered poor but her standards are different. Her life is rich because she focuses on what she has, not on what she doesn't have. It is time for us to do the same.”

Gail continues on to talk about her choice in the upcoming presidential election.

So, what difference does this letter make? I think what Gail is showing us is a full circle, fully integrated experience that can result from plunging bravely in to do whatever we can to try to impact the world’s greatest hurts. Let me explain:

First, Gail got involved. She chose a way for herself to make a difference in the world…in the lives of the vulnerable, often orphaned, and impoverished children of South Africa.

Second, Gail shared her experience. She educates others by sharing what she has learned, describing what she has witnessed and encouraging others to get involved.
Third, Gail is applying what she is learning from the child who washes her clothes in a tub to her own situation. Gail is being inspired to examine her own life, patterns of consumption and view of the world and make changes. A sort of “live simply so others can simply live” experience.

And lastly, Gail is using what she has experienced to inform how she engages the larger world. She is writing to the paper. She is voting and she is keeping her elected officials informed of her priorities.

Now, one might say, “Good for Gail. What an admirable person!” and then leave it at that. But I say, if each one of us were to follow Gail’s lead, just imagine how powerful our collective experience would be?

If each of us found a way to involve ourselves, open ourselves and learn. If each of us plunged in and shared our experience and encouraged others to join us. If each of us were to do our small part, all our small parts would become part of a great whole.

Never underestimate the power of a single person.

These children are waiting for mentors. We need caring, adventurous adults who will take 30 minutes a week to mentor a child. You can harness the power of a single person and use it to make a huge difference in the life of that child.

You can become part of that great whole. Become part of Infinite Family.

1 comment:

Barbara Draimin said...

Your thoughts and writing are so clear and loving and poignant. Thanks for taking the time to share them with us all. The gift is really ... you!