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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Just Give A Little Bit...

During my time working in Nigeria, I was often troubled by being in the midst of such desperation day after day. Seeing lepers, emaciated beggars, and destitute children succeptable to all kinds of disease was profoundly disturbing. Even more disturbing was how inured I had become to human suffering; how my life crept in its petty pace from day to day in a state of willful obliviousness and preoccupation...

Since then, every time I hear the parable of the sheep and the goats, I recognize the fact that I have been both. In the final analysis, when you factor in sins of omission as well as comission, I'd say whether I'm a saint or a bastard is only a matter of perspective.

When you consider the way we pollute the world's water and air, and consume natural resources; when you consider the way our consumption patterns exacerbate exploitation in the third world; when you consider our indifference to human suffering on the grand scale--can any of us feel certain we're doing less harm than good?

The lesson I took from Nigeria was the obligation to help shoulder the load. The worst thing that could be said about a person was "he didn't want to help". People weren't expected to contribute all they had to those less fortunate, but society had nothing but scorn for those that wouldn't contribute when the hat was passed.

We don't need saviors or heroes. We need just a little bit of everyone contributing to the common good. My resolution is to be open to the opportunity to contribute this holiday season.

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