I'd like to think most good people wake up everyday and ask how they can make the world a better place.
Some look at the task as gargantuan, something they'll have to train or go to school for but there is a much simpler way to look at it: Changing the world starts right in your own front yard.
Now more than ever is a great time to learn the art of being neighborly while making the world, starting with your world, a better place.
We have every right to live within our means inside our home, but, outside, the world is God's world and it's totally easy to do some good while enjoying some good old social distancing or whatever they are about to stop calling it.
The sidewalks, for instance, are city property, as are the curbs in front or around your house. But it is mostly up to you to clean up. Kids are riding their bikes and skateboard gadgets with their parents; men and women like to jog in the mornings and go for walks in the evening.
I find it important for people to clean their tree limbs up off the road and keep their sidewalks accessible. It's more or less like the grass ordinance the cities have. Everyone wants things to look nice, it is easy to do and in a way it is mellow, fun and it gets you outdoors.
In my area, the house next to mine is vacant so I clean up their portion of the sidewalk, too. Obviously, that is not the only thing to do. The pools and theaters may be closed and all our events shut down but it is a chance to re-connect with the earth and enjoy nature and good company. Social distancing right?
Facebook chat works great having face to face conversations and many other websites. The real point is, we are surrounded by things we cannot control right now and it has the country in a panic and it has many people frustrated, so, it is OK to let go of things and focus on the quality of life we do have access to.
We can make the best of our communities; only us.
Like I said before, community starts right outside your door. As long as we have food and clothes and shelter, and preferably sunshine, we're alright.
The country will fall into place, stronger than we were before. We lived through the dawning of the digital age and now we face the dawning of something else. But whatever it is, it is always the dawning of a new day.
The Bible says, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. In short, I think it means don't go to bed angry and agitated. This too shall pass.
God gave you complete control over one and only one thing, your mind. You have up to 50,000 thoughts a day. Your thoughts form your beliefs; your beliefs control your emotions and actions.
It is not what happens that affects you. It is what you believe about what happens that affects you. Your thoughts, beliefs, and actions either support you and make you happy or they will cause you to be unhappy with anxiety, fear, and worry.
Most people will not read, listen to, or accept anything that challenges their current beliefs and actions. Thus, they are unable to use critical thinking to impartially examine their beliefs and determine if their beliefs and actions are true and correct.
Most people would rather face a firing squad than change their beliefs and actions even if they are causing substantial life disruptions.
Without the knowledge needed to develop and use critical and scientific thinking, people develop a personal sense of reasoning, which can lead to, irrational beliefs, hurtful actions, anxiety, fear, worry, and various mental disorders. They believe a pack of lies. Search the Internet for, and study critical and scientific thinking.
If worry anxiety and fear haunt you, it is what you believe about them that disturbs you. You have the power to change your beliefs. However, if you do not seek, find and accept the knowledge needed to use critical and scientific thinking to examine your thoughts, and develop thoughts, form believes, and take actions that support you, you will not be happy or have peace of mind. It is you that controls your mind and if you continue to hold on to thoughts and actions that cause anxiety, fear, and worry not even God can help you.
If you want to know the truth you must be willing to accept facts that are proven to be true even when they contradict your present beliefs.
You will have happiness and peace of mind when you seek and accept the knowledge that is needed, and use critical and scientific thinking to unbiasedly examine your beliefs and actions and develop beliefs and actions that support you and make you happy.
Happy people focus on what they have. Unhappy people focus on what they don’t have.
Imagine you are living in a tiny room, and nothing in the room belongs to you. You have the bare minimum required for shelter, but not one single comfort from home.
Imagine the bright floodlights never turn off, day or night. Imagine that there are people screaming, pounding on walls, at all times. Imagine being stuck in a bare room, totally alone, for months, never seeing sunlight. Imagine trying not to go insane.
These are the conditions that many inmates in prisons face. Now imagine trying to change your life in those conditions.
The public thinks that prison is remedial, that people who go to prison come out better somehow, changed, ready to walk the straight and narrow. This isn’t the reality. No one can grow personally and make big changes in their life when they are in a constant state of fear and stress. In prison, you have no control over anything. You have no rights. You are at the mercy of others, and you are constantly on edge.
Some people may deserve to go to prison, perhaps violent criminals. However, the majority of the prison population are not violent offenders. Most inmates in the U.S. prison system have a diagnosed mental illness. People with bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, and schizophrenia.
The prison system is the number one provider of mental health services, yet most prisoners have no access to therapy. There is one “counselor” in most prisons, and this person contacts their families and manages affairs. They do not provide therapy to inmates.
We need to change our prison system. People with mental illness need access to services. The conditions of most prisons is appalling. Exposing human beings to bright lights and loud noises continuously is a form of psychological torture. Segregation of inmates for weeks and months is also torture. We need to end these archaic traditions and actually reform people, because inmates are people and they deserve humane treatment, and a genuine chance to change.
It's no surprise that Trump wants to be a dictator. He admires other dictators in the world and “jokes” that he wishes he could be one.
Many say his incompetence in responding slowly to the pandemic is going to cost a lot of lives. Trump doesn't care if Americans die. He's not incompetent. He has his own game plan.
His administration cut money to the CDC and got rid of the pandemic response team. Warnings about COVID-19 were in the president's daily intelligence brief in early January. The limited testing we're doing keeps us in the dark about how bad it is and delayed the social distancing strategy.
The delayed response of the Defense Production Act for more medical equipment will lead to more deaths as hospitals scramble to get supplies. Kushner says the federal supplies of medical equipment are not for the states. Who who are they for? No national testing plan, no national stay-at-home order, no overall Defense Production Plan.
Trump's Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin couldn't vote by mail for their primary, so voters either had to risk their lives to vote or have their votes suppressed.
This lack of concern for Americans points to Trump's true intentions. With our slow response to the pandemic, it's going to take months before the risk is mitigated.
It's not unreasonable to conclude that this has been Trump's plan all along, creating a good reason to cancel the election or suppress enough votes to make him dictator for life.
This is our darkest hour. When the bottom falls out. Courage gives way to fear, and hope follies to despair; But only if we let it.
We can choose to tuck tail and run. We can hoard supplies, gouge prices and squabble over arbitrary differences. It would however, be a disservice to ourselves.
This is a terrifyingly uncertain time. Businesses worry about sustainability. Parents worry about their children’s education. Children fear for their parent’s health. We must not give in to the trepidation.
From our very founding, struggle has always been the catalyst of our ascendance.
During the Revolutionary War, we stood tall against tyranny. In the 40s, our vigilance helped to defeat hate. During the Civil Rights Movement, we marched in the streets to fight against inequality. On 9/11 we came together as a unified nation.
Our elders have shown us that no matter how tumultuous the path, we must press on. It’s not a matter of if we should, but when; and the time is now.
Medical professionals are working tirelessly to heal the sick. Grocery store workers are potentially exposing themselves every day so that we can continue to have some semblance of normalcy.
State and local governments are creating programs to keep small businesses afloat. The world continues to turn despite the gravity of our situation.
If you’re stuck at home, watching the days go by from behind your window, you’re not alone. Let me repeat that. You are not alone.
So, what can we, the common people, do to contribute to the cause from the comfortable constraints of our homes?
The short answer is, a lot.
First and foremost, stay home. If don’t need to be out among others, don’t be. Second, keep your head. Even though our daily lives have almost certainly been shredded, there are ways to maintain your sanity. Have your morning coffee, make that gourmet breakfast you don’t typically have time for, get a work out in, do something creative and new to keep your mind limber, dust off that book you never finished.
Next, think of something practical you can do for your community. Maybe start a discussion on social media, or send cards to folks in nursing homes who are most assuredly lonely right now. Reach out to old friends who may just need to talk about nothing for a while.
Finally, don’t lose hope. It’s OK to be afraid. Just don’t let it control your life. Reconciliation rests around the bend.
History has taught us time and time again that pervasive nature of the human spirit is resilient. Show me a tragedy, and I’ll show you a coalition of compassion and love.
So, as we ride this storm out from behind our windows and watch the daily struggle to conquer this newest threat, please remember, the more trying the battle, the harder we fight.
You see, it is in these moments of mountainous obstacles, we are made.
A call goes out every May to Americans who believe in prayer to join together in praying for the nation.
Observed annually on the first Thursday of May, the National Day of Prayer is when groups have gathered for years on the steps of local courthouses and other public venues to lead in petitions made to God for government leaders, first responders, teachers and others.
This year there will be no official physical gathering, But that doesn’t mean people won’t be praying for the nation. Thousands will take a moment to bow their heads in prayer for the health, wisdom and welfare of the nation’s leaders, front line workers, health care providers, teachers, media, spiritual leaders and the country’s general population. The Illinois Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is anxious for circumstances to allow visits to nursing home residents with stuffed animals again.
The family of Ben Harrington would like to thank the entire community for its outpouring of love, support and help following his fatal car accident on April 28.
The neighbors on Western Avenue quickly came to his rescue. The emergency personnel were on the scene immediately and called Ben's mom, Laura, in Dallas.
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center welcomed our family to grieve. Even amid the pressures they are facing with Covid-19, they placed love above all.
The Hampton Inn team welcomed us in the middle of the night and the warm arms of the Jerdan family assisted us with the difficult arrangements. Faced with no access to rental cars because of COVID-19, Gary Melvin and Rick Stevens provided us access to their personal cars. Mike, Kelsey, Gary and Gail provided a home-cooked meal in their home for our weary family.
The flowers arrived in droves and we felt surrounded with sympathy and love as we said our farewells. Food arrived from Effingham, with friends lifting us with nourishment and cheer.
We were helped in every possible big and small way. We were loved when raw and hopeless. We were given strength and prayers to lift our spirits.
It is no wonder Ben chose to live in Mattoon, where the people offer the priceless gift of love and friendship.
Our family was blessed by this loving community! Thank you!
Cordia and Tom Harrington and Jeff and Laura Harrington Hettinger