Emerson wrote that “In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”
Sounds logical enough, but do we ever actually live by this principle or are we seldom even considering it?
I like what reformer and temperance advocate, Lily Hardy Hammond said about this never-ending matter. She said, “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.” Man did Lily bust on the upper-middle-class white Americans for their collective failure to examine the stanchions of racism. Particularly, she lambasted them for the absence of universal health care and effective social welfare systems across the board. Basically, the criticism towards most of the socioeconomically advantaged white Americans was for apathy. Laziness. No concern whatsoever. Not my problem so don’t bring it to me attitude.
If there is one thing that drives me battier than anything else (barring what future blogs may state or moods may dictate), it’s when people cry, moan, and complain about being malcontent, then sit back and do nothing. Really? Can they not see the glaring irony?
Much like LHH said about little being able to change with regard to racism and race relations in our country until the underpinnings have been examined and dissected, ’tis true of anything. But unfortunately, I find human beings – myself included at times – to be simply uneager to delve deeply into anything. Honestly, if we spent the same amount of time trying to examine, dissect, address, and correct all the crap we complain about (politics, taxes, health care, unemployment, each other) as we did listening to ourselves yap in circles about it, maybe we’d get somewhere.
Realizing this no small feat, here’s what I suggest in the meantime: Take action. Do something nice for someone else. Start small, like some random stranger that you encounter each and every day as you go about the perceived drudgery ahead of you.
I like to pay for the person’s order behind me at McD’s. I go there once or twice a month for an oatmeal and large coffee ($3.23 please). As I am in line, I’m carefully watching the person behind me in my rear view mirror, unaware of the fact that what they just ordered is on the stranger in front of them. A very small gesture yet, I wonder if, when they get to work, they tell someone what occurred. And then, that person is somehow inspired to do something nice for someone at some point throughout their respective work day.
Sure, it could be wishful thinking, but the concept isn’t all that hard to grasp. I know how I feel when someone does something nice for me without being asked, or even (almost) anonymously. It’s a nice little slice of unexpected love and it makes me want to reciprocate.
I’m not trying to sound like the 2007 Miss America contestant from South Carolina (anyone got a map, such as?), but I do know change won’t happen without anything in motion. And the movement is forward.
Backwards never accomplished a thing.