Sometimes my awareness of the economic gap between developed and developing nations feels unbridgeable. And the apathy and complacency shown from nations of means toward those lacking appropriate infrastructures (such as those that would provide for safe evacuation from pending hurricanes)—well it’s enough to feel hopeless and helpless about. I surely can’t—as one person—go over to Haiti, for example, and single-handedly build needed highways and shelters, or more importantly, plant the seeds of compassion and care for its own within human heart—a necessary foundation that any ‘nation building’ needs to sustain itself.
Yet, I know that I can’t sit back and just think “let Haiti figure it out.’ Honesty reminds me that if left ‘unchecked’ and ‘unhealed’ helplessness tends to lead toward apathy and complacency whose greatest ally is doing nothing.
So this morning I found myself praying for solutions for healing. Granted, it’s 2 months before the bulk of the hurricanes will spin their winds around the Caribbean. Something must be doable in two months. And for me, that ‘something’ is to pray and defend the right now, tangible ways that divine Love is caring for its own.
Currently, I dwell beneath a roof that could house 10x more than just me.
The home is equipped with modern conveniences: running water, electricity, refrigeration, plumbing, air condition…there’s even remarkably clear cell phone reception and wireless internet connectivity. Pantry’s are amply stocked with food provisions. Closets store an abundant array of fresh linens. Bathrooms have all essentials. Even my dog found a favorite spot to lounge on the cool tile floor.
And here I sit, thanks to a gracious family who loaned their home simply as a gesture of friendship and support. I had no urgent need for housing, hadn’t faced a devastating experience that left me homeless. And I wasn’t fleeing a crisis of the heart or looking for refuge from some other hardship. This friend simply called one day and said ‘Hey, house is empty. Go down. Have fun.’ Bless her heart!
So for me, that gesture was very much evidence of the mothering care of divine Love which graciously outpours blessings of love, support, and friendship to all.
And still, not an hour goes by that I’m not aware of the needs of thousands who dwell throughout the Caribbean, within a few hundred miles from where I’m currently located in the Florida Keys–especially the predictable needs that will arouse from pending hurricanes.
So how can I pray? How can I think practically—thought by thought—about what is governing and caring for each one? How can I be assured of their care and safety in the event a hurricane blows through any of those islands? And how can I defend that the grace and outpouring love of the divine ensures protection for all, regardless of economic status, race, creed or governing ideology?
Well, from all that I’ve learned from studying Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas in Science and Health, for starters, I’ve gotta shut up the pangs of guilt..all that tries to get me to feel guilty for these provisions at hand. They’ve argued “What have I to do with all this luxury when women half my age must manage a half dozen or more children and try to figure out from where their next meal will come.” Or “why am I housed in luxury when countless others must rally to find shelter every day.”
The only motive guilt ever has is to make you feel bad and helpless. And both numb your spiritual intuition which is vitally needed to defend the present, active, tangible grace of the divine that is caring for each and all.
So, first, shut out the guilt.
Then, turn thought completely to advocating the supreme governing, controlling nature of divine Love. This presence is everywhere, no matter what a nation’s economic status, no matter what ideology is governing. The only real government going on anywhere is the harmonic control of Mind. And this government is sound, established and secure.
Then, as you’re defending this government, oppose the widespread belief that evil can dominate thought, on any level—individually, community or nation wide. The tendency to neglect, shun, ignore, take for granted, or resist ensuring protection, care, love, support for the individual, on any level, is not the true inclination of man. Indeed, it surely feels neglect and will and power and hatred run rampant. Yet, no one has to remain impelled by self or evil, whether it’s an every day individual citizen or someone in a position of making change happen. Just keep defending that the only real lasting impelling nudge comes from divine Love and must eventually dominate all thought.
As you do this, you are in fact making a difference because you are defending the supremacy of Spirit, denouncing any duration or life to evil and thus advocating God’s unyielding government. There is no thought, no disposition, no ruling influence immune to the control and presence of the divine. Apathy can be eradicated. Ignorance can be exposed. Indifference can be humbled to express compassion, adoration, respect, and common humanity for caring for one another.
As I defend the spiritual fact of man’s oneness, as I advocate for the control of the divine over all, indeed, I do feel a greater sense of hope and I know that my thoughts open to whatever may be a tangible way I could help. In Science and Health where Mary Baker Eddy asserts: Love is universal and impartial in its adaptation and bestowals.’
Defending the presence, power, and governing control of this Love opens thought to possibilities, to change, to thinking through potential helpmeets.
And I can be defending that this is going on regardless of where I’m residing.
Currently, I’m as close to Haiti as I could be without flying over.
With the pending hurricane season, I’ve already begun to start praying about protection and practical supports to allow all–whether living in the mountains or not—to find adequate shelter. I am praying to know that the world will wake up and help Haiti and enable her to build an infrastructure that cares for its own.
Why bother? Why let Haiti just figure it out?
A very close friend told me a story once about the native Americans’ form of insurance. He said that when/if one’s home burned to the ground, a community member takes in he and his family, allow them to stay indefinitely while community members build a new home for him and then have a community celebration when he moves into his home.
I’ve never lost the meaning of that story. Embedded therein is this enduring sense that one person’s needs are all of our needs. And that in loving our neighbor as ourselves we won’t be blinded to a natural outpouring of human kindness simply because of superficial differences of geographic locations, political structures or economic worth attest. Notice: no one in that story acts complacent, blames the one who lost his home on lack of intelligence or lack of protection against the threat of fire, no one shut him out to say ‘figure it out.’ All pitch in and help.
Certainly I’m not calling for all to fly over to Haiti, impose their will on what should happen. I am calling for the borders of everyone’s thought to expand. There are Haiti’s in our own back yard, and across the town. Ask yourself daily “how am I helping to care for my brother’s needs? How am I prepared to respond?”
Leaving the grocery store the other day, in an SUV loaned to me by family, a Haitian family walked curbside in the 90+ degree heat. Two children (very young) were in the cart and the mother and her friend pushed them along side the road. At that moment, the extreme differences of our economic situations felt this looming cement wall too high to climb or break down. But I shut out all fear and guilt in my thought (for I can not resent any longer that I was raised with means and education and I can use these resources effectively to help my fellow man), And I pulled over behind them so as not to scare them, got out of my car, and called over to them, offering a ride.
Golly, I would have driven them several hundred miles, I was that inspired to love tangibly. The mother turned to me and smiled a glowing smile I will never forget. ‘We live just over there. This is my daily walk. And it is fun for the children to get outside. You are a gracious woman. Thank you.”
Wow. I was so moved. Shame on me (in ways) for feeling they were ‘suffering.’ It was a beautiful day out, tropical foliage in bloom and brillant sky canvassed with enormous clouds. But more than ‘shame on me,’ I felt gratitude for the willingness to pause and offer, for the willingness to build a connection, for the freedom to love without borders.
Economic, political and social injustices must be resolved. And these are everyone’s issue. Everyone’s. Ultimately, to me, what will ensure just and merciful treatment of all humankind–enabling all to lead an adequately safe and healthy life– is an expanded view of the creative governing power controlling all and a heightened view about the worth of each and every human—no matter race, cultural background, rearing or educating.
Mary Baker Eddy defends this spiritual fact in Science and Health, something I pray with daily:
“In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being.” (p. 63: 5)
Think about it: what are the possibilities if each one of us begins to embrace one another as ‘offspring of Spirit’ instead of citizens of differing nationalities, creeds, ideologies? Ya think anything would change? Might intolerance for injustice subside? Might proactive action toward helping one another be more widespread? Might the needs of anyone be much more in thought instead of neglected or abandoned?
I often think of all as this ‘offspring of God.’ And I ponder how God is caring for each one? And I work to let my actions reflect this. My offer for a ride to this family is surely not the same level of help as creating a sustaining infrastructure with adequate roads, plan of evacuation, and shelters. But it’s motivated by the same care and desire for protection, impelled by the sense of justice that knows it is the right thing to do.
And as I pray and live this way, I’m that much more aware that to the degree we let our lives live the Love that seeks to comfort, support, heal, so too are we each contributing to the eradication of all complacency, apathy, ill-will and neglect. Try it. You can be assured that as you love without borders, you will bless many, including yourself!
Hey, thanks much for reading this blog. Offer your perspective and ideas too (send a comment). And if you wanna be in touch about any of the ideas, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and lemme know how to best reach you. Thanks and be well, Tre