mariahelm.com
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mariahelm.com

Call to Action

September 7th, 2017 . by maria

A friend shared an article about hate groups, and someone asked her what she’s doing about it. She answered that she’s praying about it. But she doesn’t have time in her life to go fight every battle.

Another friend shares Facebook posts against dog abuse. But these are only seen by her friends – who already agree with her. She does rescue and rehome dogs, but she’d like to get others to do more.

My employer started a new initiative about the Opioid Epidemic. They are focused on education, de-stigmatization, and on donating to sources that fund awareness campaigns. But this information will be directed mainly towards employees and their families.  Employees of our company, while not immune to this stuff, do already live a privileged life.

Awareness. Education. Engagement. A Voice. Rallies. An environment. Support. Conversation. A Cause. Petitions. De-stigmatization. Spreading information. Fundraisers. Donations. Bracelets and flags and bumper stickers.

All these things are great for reaching people in functioning families with reasonable and responsible lifestyles. People who watch TV, go to work, read flyers at the grocery store. And it does help some people. But the people who suffer the most, and the most often, don’t come from those backgrounds, or have been removed from them by death, divorce, disease, etc. They are in foster homes, abusive relationships, shelters, or just bouncing around. These people are so busy surviving – seriously, just figuring out when they’ll eat next, where to sleep, and how not to get beaten up. They are the ones most at risk for everything, but they aren’t in any position to hear what you’re spreading. And if they are engaging in risky activity, it’s most likely because everything in their life is at risk right now, and this thing – this thing that seems so bad to you – made one moment in their life easier. They fell into it because they finally felt accepted, or protected, or relieved.

If you are among the privileged group that has time in your life to complain, post, petition, etc. then please do more. Volunteer, donate, rescue, give, show up. Even $5. Even 30 minutes. Don’t just TALK about the problems – do something. Pick ONE thing that you CAN do something about and DO it. We can’t all fix everything, but we can all do something.  I know it’s easy to say that, so I put my money where my mouth is…not to brag, but to give some examples and go beyond talk. Below is a list of things I actually do. These may not be your favorites; you might even have criticisms about them. But these are the things I have chosen for me. You do you! But do something!

What I do (currently):

  • Protect Animals – Adopt from Shelters & Rescues, and Foster. None of our pets have been gotten from stores or breeders. We’ve fostered and rehomed a few pets over the years. We rescued and rehabilitated an abandoned and sick dog. Vet bills for rescues can get expensive, but it was the right thing to do.
  • Visit the Sick – Because I have a dog with lots of training, we got certified for Pet Therapy. We go to a local long-term care facility 30 minutes twice a week. The residents there miss their own pets, and love to see my dog. The Pet Therapy training was important to keep my dog safe, and I highly recommend it – there are a surprising number of hidden dangers in pet therapy.
  • Fight Homelessness – I have given diapers to Halifax Urban Ministries ($12), volunteered feeding the homeless (60 minutes on Sat afternoon), and even invited a homeless friend to live with us. (I wouldn’t necessarily make that offer to a homeless stranger, and even taking in a friend/family might be a stretch for some people, or even at some points in your life. But we were in a position where we could do it.)
  • Donate When Needed – Don’t just “Pray for X” when X happens. Research and find a charity that you believe operates with the values and integrity you require. Then, when something happens, donate to THAT charity. For me, this is Samaritan’s Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org). (Not getting into how or why to choose here – just choose one!) So now, when something happens, I don’t just post “Pray for X” on Facebook, I click the donate button and give what I can! Even if it is $5, or $15, or $50, it is something. And if I had $5 for every “Pray for X” I had ever seen…wow, I’d be SO rich.
  • Raise Responsible Children – that’s a whole series of essays right there, but it may be the MOST important thing you do…and the most rewarding. If you can give the world ONE LESS person who is addicted, or homeless, or mean…and instead ONE MORE person who is kind and safe and giving…that’s powerful!
  • Make it a Habit – We ALWAYS give Shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child EVERY year. It’s become so much a part of the holiday tradition that it is celebratory to give this way.

There are SO many ways to volunteer, give, and share. And if you are reading this, guess what? You are better off than SO many people, and you have a RESPONSIBILITY to share.  But here’s something even better…God is asking you to share. It is more important to him than Not Sinning. Yes, really.  But don’t take my word for it. Read Matthew 25:31-46. Then, if you think that’s a fluke, look at all those postscripts in the verse – the ones that point to other verses – and read those. Even the Old Testament ones. It’s pretty consistent. Go. Do it. Give.