The Walk to Defeat ALS season is upon us. I can’t believe it, but it’s that time already. They started registration last week, but I was just too depressed and tired and thinking about me to even consider it. Up until yesterday, I was seriously thinking about taking the year off. But, I woke up this morning and realized: If I am so focused on what is wrong in my life, how will I make things right?
If I am so focused on me and my petty problems, how will I help to make things better for others? If I cannot extend myself to help others and our world, how will our world change? I know, I certainly cannot do this by myself. My contribution seems like nothing. Then, the great ‘Analogist’ within me started thinking. It’s like the old litter commercials. If I don’t pick up the trash, and you don’t pick up the trash, then no one will pick up the trash, and our world will just be filled with it. If I don’t help, and you don’t help, then no one will help. So, it can never get better for those less fortunate, those oppressed, those suffering if you and I don’t help.
This is not to say that I really want to do this. I still am having this major pity party that’s been going on for pretty much the whole winter. However, there’s a part of me that remembers that doing for others helps us feel better within ourselves. So, there’s definitely a selfish aspect to this whole ‘charitable obligations’ thing.
It’s a bit weird that when we are motivated from egocentric thoughts, often we are more depressed and less productive. But, when we are allocentric, we find that we are not only working for others, we are working towards a balance in our own health and happiness. Charity therefore becomes not only about others, but indeed about us. It informs us that we are not just one person standing alone, we are a community, a world; equal in our desire to live well and free.
Today, I registered our team once again for the Walk to Defeat ALS. It’s true, I have a personal connection to Walk to Defeat ALS, in that my Mom passed from this dreadful disease in 1983. But, if the money raised this summer through “The Ice Bucket Challenge” were enough to stop this horrifying killer, then I would not continue the battle. Unfortunately, it’s not, and we have to continue the fight. To me, it’s not about dying, because we all die, and none of us know when it will be our time. It’s about the quality of life that’s afforded to ALS patients. It slowly kills you, while you remain lucid and fully aware of what is happening to you. That is terrifying to me.
I also decided today to get off the fence, and sign the sheet for Family Promise, which helps with multi-denominational sheltering of the homeless. I admittedly have been remiss in helping with the homeless. How bad is that? I was homeless, and promised to help. Whom did I make the promise to? Me. But, life moves on, and sometimes we forget that we do owe, really. We do. Even if you have never been sick and never been homeless or oppressed, and think you have always had a decent life. Brother, that may be when you owe the most!
I already feel better knowing that I have made a decision to continue with my human race. I can faintly hear Chariots of Fire music, far off in the distance. What is the sound of two hands helping? It seems pretty inconsequential at first, but if you really listen, it’s pretty sweet.
Wish me…wishing all you…luck!