A story that is on the internet, and so may or may not be true, had one line that struck me as a forgotten truth….something to the effect “Sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t make everyone happy, just the person who needs it most.”
Coincidentally, or not, just prior to reading that I was thinking that we’ve become a world where no matter what it is, it’s all about me. I think that’s what all this digital connectiveness is doing to us…not everyone, but far too many see it as his or her own personal world literally held in the palm of one’s hand, where, if I don’t get it or take it someone else will and I deserve my share. It’s only fair. (As if ‘fairness’ is what makes the world go round.)
We hear about the sad or down trodden but don’t venture out to meet them. Maybe we send a smiley or teary emoji or unsolicited advice and consider our efforts to be significant because even 10 years ago when they weren’t on our social media friend list we wouldn’t have even known they were sad. Now we can be witness to the emotional and physical vagaries of a much, much larger world, so that sometimes we are overwhelmed – there are just too many hurt people to be able to help on a personal level. We learn to protect ourselves from the grief of others…to put the oxygen mask over our own mouths first, and stop there, because how can we make Sophie’s Choice, saving this one over that. Better to just save myself and expect them to do the same, it’s natural selection, right? I prefer to think it’s not because we are bad people but because it’s just too much to bear and too hard to figure out where to start.
There are so many sad stories, and, let’s face it, so many are fake, that we’ve learned to prize our cynicism over our humanity…that man berating that little girl is probably secretly being filmed for “What Would You Do?” making the helper despite the best possible heart seem a little bit foolish for being sucked in. On the positive side maybe some people only help because they fear they’re being filmed, so the end justifies the means. But once you hear of one panhandler sneaking off to their secretly parked current model Mercedes after a day’s haul, it’s pretty damn easy to paint all with the same brush.
We sense that we know the world because so much information is available and yet we seek out only the sources that reinforce our existing biases. It’s so much more efficient to think only in black or white.
My hope is that we remember that the world is more stunningly beautiful with a full spectrum of color, including the colors that aren’t our personal favorites.
Original source of story on internet: “Women and child at table nine” article