Have I mentioned how exasperated I am with people? I should say lately, but it’s really an ongoing exasperation, and if you’ve had the “fortune” to stand next to me, then I probably have. I don’t mind helping people. Seriously, I like helping people. I’m Southern and a woman. I’m fairly certain it’s built into our DNA. But there’s a certain point in everyone’s life (some later than others) when you become an adult and you need to take some responsibility for yourself and for the world around you. Good things don’t just happen. Okay, maybe they do, but they’d happen a lot more often if people actually made a point of making them happen instead of passing the buck.
This is the second time this week that someone has asked me to “help” them because they have a cat that needs placing. Sure, I’ll be happy to put out the word, provide you with the name of my vet, tell you where you can find resources to help you place a rescued cat or hopefully find the owners of a lost cat, but I’m not going to take the cat. You might not have noticed, but I’m all full up. I have multiple rescued cats, foster cats, and I donate my time and money to animal rescue organizations. I’m not tooting my own horn. Lots of people do what they can to help others (whether they walk on two feet or four.) And I wish I could do more. But dropping a lost kitten at a high kill shelter (76% in Metro Nashville) or calling the number on a collar and then throwing the cat out when you don’t get a response from the “owners” is NOT HELPING. Doing nothing is bad enough. Wretched, in fact. But doing next to nothing is, well, just as bad. The world is a hard place because there are cruel people. True. But it’s also because there are a lot of “good” people who do absolutely nothing but sit around wringing their hands and complaining how bad everything is.
You want the world to be a kinder, gentler place? DO SOMETHING! Alice Walker wrote, “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” And it is. We all live here on the Big Blue Marble. The world is not fair. Some of us have more time or more money or just more luck than others. But all of us, every single person, can do something every single day to make the world a little brighter.
Maybe you can light the world, maybe you can just light a room, or maybe you can just light one person’s eyes. But small things really do matter. Giving someone in line some change when they’re scrabbling madly to find a quarter, opening a door, making a donation, taking in a lost puppy (and finding his owners or a new home for him) – these things make a ripple. Maybe it’s a cliché to say that the smallest of ripples can make the biggest of waves, but it’s true. Nastiness is viral and so is hope. And each day you choose which one you spread.