I still cannot write anything about any of the terrible things that have been happening around the world. It seems as though we, individually or collectively, should be able to help ourselves stay safe and help those who are troubled or angry or ill or committed to a way of life, a belief, a practice that does not allow for anyone else to live, believe or practice in their own way.
Last year I saw part of Women Hold Up Half The Sky on Public Television. When it became available on DVD, I immediately put myself on the waiting list. It was, is, excellent and with significantly less of the colonialism found in other projects.
A few weeks later I borrowed the Invisible War, a documentary about sexual abuse and misconduct in the U.S. Military. Then, when I was having difficulty sleeping, yet again, I turned on the television and watched one of the Public stations, the same one where I first saw and learned about ...Half The Sky. Independent Lens was on and after came another program, which I almost turned off. It was Service: When Women Come Marching Home.
Three documentaries that do not involve anything connected with my experience, but connected to me never the less. Our lives, or struggles and challenges are different in the context of the lives we live, where we live, how much money we have, what our other resources are, familial, societal and political influences, but we are still connected by the mere fact of being human. Age, gender, race, all of it means so much less than the energy we put into maintaining some notion of who we are, who other people are and how we are different from one another. It is an illusion that does not serve any of us.
All I want is to live in peace. And, I want everyone else to live in peace. I heard something recently about how war and conflict and differences are essential to keeping the world running, that economic viability depends on military budgets, overseas aid, reparations and rebuilding. Ending war would mean that millions of jobs would be lost, millions of families destroyed by the lack of jobs and the money they provide. Countries would flounder and fail, with their citizens starving. On and on.
I cannot argue with that. I am not smart enough, knowledgeable or educated enough. The thoughts and notions I have may be wrong. Maybe war is needed, in some sick rationalization.
What I can argue with is how it is unconscionable to force women and girls and boys into sexual slavery. How children should not be forced to work in unsafe and underpaid employment to satisfy the shopping habits of the more privileged of the world's citizenry. How all of the human rights abuses are oh-so-terrible, but it is not a huge problem when innocent people, men and women and children, schools and hospitals are bombed in the name of keeping world peace, which mostly translates to you have something that I want, you will not give it to me and so I am going to make your lives miserable, kill those not even remotely connected to what it is that I want, until I get it.
In the meantime, I plan to do something proactive in my neighborhood. I really do not know exactly what that might be. Ummm, pick up trash or something. I have no idea. Last month I walked across the street, which might seem like something so insignificant to not be worth mentioning, but it was huge for me, being only the third time that I have been out of my home, on my feet, walking somewhere. Anyway, I have been watching the dogs in the house opposite of my building and they are a cool group. A pit bull, a lab and a lab and shepherd mix. I asked to meet the dogs, but I really wanted to meet some of the people who live in that apartment building. Well, that might not seem as though it is much of anything, but I know those people now and that is a connection. It is a beginning.
In the event that I continue to be unable to find a job, I might want to expand on some of my volunteer work, maybe add a fourth day. There is a church near to me, where I could walk. The provide slightly more than a half-day's supportive environment for anyone who cares to stop by, but their intended population is our city's homeless. Those fortunate enough to find shelter space can stay only at night to sleep. They receive breakfast before they are asked to leave for the day, and dinner when they return at the end of the day.
In between, they are expected to look for work, use resources at Workforce Development, take advantage of classes, workshops and things like that. And, yes, it is suggested that they come and see me for help with their job searching. I love that part, naturally, and it forms the most important part of the work I do.
The church program helps to fill some of that time for them. They provide lunch, all kinds of beverages and, most importantly, a place to go when you simply do not have any other place to go. It is warm in the cool seasons and toasty in the summer, but it is warm to the bone all of the time. That place provides, for some people, the only decent human contact they have. There are not any official programs beyond food, companionship and safety, but there is every kind of help, advice and assistance that is needed and for which a request has been made. I love that part, too.
I plan to find out if I have any muscles I can exploit to increase my ability and willingness to take risks. Maybe that could be doing something more political. I am pretty sure that I do not want to work towards helping someone be elected, but there are plenty of organizations that have political agendas as part of their community or charitable work. I might start by learning more about the ones that help veterans. I could do that.
I believe that it is these kinds of local ideas that can help change the world. At least, it is the realm in which I can become involved.
In the more meantime, I will be choosing to make a small donation to a few of the legitimate organizations that exist for some of this stuff. Or, I just might go and buy a case of readers (reading glasses) for the shelters and two of the charitable service organizations with which I am intimately involved. And, I will continue to do the best work I can, as long as I can. As much as I want and need a paying job, it is one of my dreams to find work doing what I love, and that is some extension of what I already do, helping those who have run out of resources. Nothing means more to me.
It has been a week since the bombings in Boston, MA. Nearly that long since the explosion at the Texas fertilizer plant, where the owners were holding more than 1300 times more of a reportable chemical, one which is used in creating bombs. Mass shootings. A garment factory fire in Bangladesh. Slavery. Abuse, neglect and exploitation.
God help us. Make a difference.