Tuesday, December 13, 2016

And the World Will Be a Better Place

this morning i am thinking of the unspeakable acts of cruelty going on in the world, of the merciless shelling of the city of aleppo, of the battle raging against isil, of the unspeakable killings that are part of the drug trade in central america and mexico.  i am thinking of the pivot towards anti-immigrant sentiment in this country and in europe.  i am thinking of the persecution of women throughout the world and the desire to control women in my country, exemplified in the "fetal heartbeat" bill passed by the ohio legislature in the wake of donald trump's victory.  i am thinking of the oligarchy our country has become.

in the face of all this, it is easy to feel powerless.  what can i do to combat this pervasive evil in the world?  how can i defend those who have come here to make better lives for themselves and their families?  is there a way i can make life better for those who are endangered by the present political and social climate?  one thing i've resolved to do this giving season is to increase my financial contributions to organizations that are doing good in the world by providing the impoverished with tools to improve their own lives and institutions that improve the quality of life for those in my community.

the question of how i can make a difference in the world through the way i live my daily life still nags at me.  financial assistance to worthy causes is good and something each of us who can ought to do, but i want my life to make a direct difference, to live a life that takes a stand against the forces that increase suffering for so many.  here are some pre-new-year resolutions that i hope will make me and the world a better place:
* i can strive to treat others with more loving-kindness and respect.
* i can hold my tongue when i'm tempted to lash out at another who has wronged me.
* i can speak against the intolerance and bigotry that seems to be increasingly prevalent, and i can speak in such a way that is less a personal attack against the intolerant and bigoted and more an affirmation of ideals that i embrace.
* i can stop criticizing others as persons and start criticizing ideas that are harmful to others.
* i can be more patient.
* i can be more concerned with hearing another than i am with proving that i'm right.

so this is the day to begin to live these resolutions in my life, to live more skillfully.  i can't waste time fretting over the actions of our president-elect and his advisors, actions that i have no control over.  i can't go fight with the rebels in syria.  i can't conquer mosul or raqqa.  instead, i can exhibit the qualities that i want to see in others, living my life with dedication to ideals that i believe would make the world a better place if we all adopted them.

may we each make the world a better place, one human contact at a time.  may we treat others as we wish to be treated.  may we not give in to pessimism and fatalism.  may we love those with whom we disagree.  may patience replace anger.  may we never give up.  shalom.

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