Fetching Love

I understand what the dog is saying.

Sometimes I think about the world, think about my country, and I feel helpless. I pay my taxes like a good honest citizen. My taxes are used, among other things, to create weapons of war that are used to kill some other person who also feels helpless in their country.

I also watch as thousands of migrants walk over 2,000 miles and try to violate my country’s immigration laws (whatever they are?) and they end up hungry and cold waiting to cross the border and this includes young children. 2,000 miles! I just read about it or see images of it on the television. I am sanitized from it. I feel helpless though as the politicians just use the crisis as political poker chips. What can I do? It is like when the beggar asks for money and all I carry with me is my ATM card, no cash.

Sometimes I get really confused to with a feeling of helplessness. How can someone be Pro-Life in our country, but then adamantly and self righteously support the Death Penalty? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that many have been convicted of crimes they never committed. How many innocent people have died for the sins of someone else? Many worship Jesus for that very same reason but just say “Whoops, my bad” when it comes to the innocent being put to death. I can’t read the news reports of someone being killed by the government, whether that government is the USA or Iran. I feel helpless and I feel responsible in some sort of way. I also feel like I am saying “Whoops. My Bad.”

I believe in Climate Change. I believe that the vast majority of scientist are probably correct in their analysis of its causes and effects and their predictions for the future. However, it feels like the corporations, the money guys, and, again, the politicians have other priorities and I am sitting around cutting up cardboard for recycling which probably ends up in a landfill somewhere. Am I playing “fetch?” I can’t fix this. I am helpless.

The war in Ukraine provides another feeling of helplessness and it is rather easy to decide which good guy wears the white hat and which bad guy wears the black hat – for me anyway. Still, even with my personal clarity, weren’t Russian soldiers just a few months ago home with their families and now find themselves fighting in a war they had no part in bringing about?, nor want to be there? Maybe they were cutting up cardboard too with a sense of helplessness a year ago.

Here’s my question: Is helplessness actually some form of death? Sure, I can still fog up a mirror, but has the capacity to create meaningful change been so diminished that I am basically dead? Have I traded for a sense of social and financial security that then allows a relatively few people to keep their hands on the knobs, dialing them in whatever direction pleases them the most? Do they say about me, “Don’t worry about him. He’s happy playing fetch?”

A week ago, as I was enjoying watching what looked like it was going to be a great game of American football on my tv, something happened that eventually challenged my sense of helplessness. A young, healthy player collapsed on the field. His heart stopped. His breathing stopped. We used to call that “dead.” Everyone looked on with shock and helplessness as the medical staff tried to revive him. They took him away in an ambulance. The game was canceled (American spelling). Soon text messages with people using the word prayer began showing up everywhere. Signs of “Pray for Damar” were also everywhere. People gathered in small informal groups outside the stadium saying prayers for Damar Hamlin. Twitter and other social media messages, along with television programs, were filled with the word “pray.”

Damar Hamlin is on the road to recovery, fortunate to have had an incredible staff available at the game and at the hospital. As people, monitored his situation, the media pointed out that Damar had previously created a GoFund Me account in hopes of raising $2,500 for a toy drive for his local community. I think at the time of his collapse he might have been halfway to his goal. As Damar showed signs of recovering, I noticed the word prayer was soon replaced with the word “love” in messages about Damar. Expressions of love came from everywhere. And, even more important, acts of love appeared everywhere too….

Out of love, 244,900 people and organizations have donated to the toy drive. So much for my sense of helplessness. Apparently love is much stronger. Silly me, didn’t I learn that lesson with the love my family experienced after the Camp Fire? Haven’t I seen and experienced love, remarkable love, before? In every situation I described previously with a sense of helplessness, isn’t love in action really the best solution?

A dear friend, who occasionally reads my blog, a couple years ago donated her kidney to save someone. I know this because she sent me a photo of her kidney before it went on its journey. Her courageous love transformed helplessness and hopelessness into hopefulness. What an inspiration. I read once that the word inspiration comes from the Greek word that means “in the spirit.” I think that fits perfectly and transforms my feelings of helplessness into hopefulness through love.