Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inspired by Everyday People

I am so torn!!  I have such hope and such despair at the exact same time.  Is it any wonder stress related illnesses are up, suicide is at epidemic proportions with our military personnel, divorce rates, child abuse, and tragedies fill our airways and permeate our lives?  As a society, we glorify that which we used to call dysfunction (MTV's teenage mothers and Jersey Shore)!  We are enamored by the mental health issues of others (Intervention and Hoarders)!  We put into cartoon form cruelties and hatred and the things we at one point wanted to hide our children from (South Park and Family Guy)?  News is driving politics from the extremes (Fox News and MSNBC).  I watched the Vice Presidential debates...there was no winner...but both sides are calling it their victory.  We are so divided as a nation.  Society spends most of its time pointing out how different we are...not how much alike we are.  I am exhausted!!!  Yet...I have hope.

I just spent six weeks on the road.  I have spent significant time over those weeks in Winnipeg MB, Charlottesville VA, Omaha NE, Anchorage AK, and Dowagiac MI.  I have interacted with people in airports, hotels, restaurants, in these cities as well as Minneapolis MN, Richmond VA, Detroit MI, Seattle WA, Salt Lake City UT, and South Bend IN.  There are so many good people out there!!  People who are just as tired as I of the ugly politics.   These people give a needed smile, head nod, and helping hand.  People who want to make a difference in others lives.  Some of these people give of their time, some of them give of their money, some of them have made it their careers whilst others choose a career that allows them the resources to give and make a difference.  They love through their actions and their kind words.  These people are not forced but give freely.  They do not demand that the government make everyone do their share...THEY do THEIR share.

The vast majority of my last six weeks has been with amazing people who care so much.  They are teachers, social workers, mental health workers, nurses, therapists, behaviorists, direct care workers, supervisors, and administrators.  They work long hours, have low wages, deal with challenging behaviors, are buried in red-tape, yet care deeply about the people they support and the people around them.  I am not blind to ugliness folks...I do know that it is not all wonderful and that there are those who do the minimums....those who are not so great...those who take advantage of others under a position of responsibility. 

However, as long as the people I have spent my last six weeks with are around I have HOPE.  Not hope in an individual who uses the word as a tag line to be elected but in everyday ordinary people.  Not in individuals who spend BILLIONS of dollars on campaign adds but in the people who spend $25 for a walk to raise awareness of how awesome a child with special needs really is.  Not in the people who are out in front of cameras getting sound bites but in those who are taking someone less fortunate on an appointment with no recognition or "photo op".  As long as people care for the comfort of strangers, I will not give up.   I am sad at all the negativity from both sides of the political isle.  I hope after all the politics ends that people will turn off their hate and turn toward someone in need...they could use your help...not your opinions.  Thanks to all those regular people who inspire me!!

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