To the editor:
Just recently, I turned 75 and, like most of us as we get older, we think, “How did I get this old so fast?” My mind tells me I can still work just as hard and long as I could 30 years ago, however my feet and body tell me very quickly, “That ain’t gonna happen.” So I have been contemplating growing old and the inevitable transitioning to death.
I read an article in the Plough Quarterly. Jason Landsel wrote a piece about the artist Wassily Kandinsky. He wrote:
“Our minds, which are even now only just awakening after years of materialism, are infected with the despair of unbelief, of lack of purpose and ideal. The nightmare of materialism, which has turned the life of the universe into an evil, useless game, is not yet past; it holds the awakening soul still in its grip. Only a feeble light glimmers like a tiny star in a vast gulf of darkness.”
Does this sound familiar to you? Don’t you think this is where we are today? Kandinsky wrote this in 1910 and it is still true today. It seems that almost everyone, from the president of the United States to the homeless, wants everything they can get their hands on – and they want it now. We all want our stuff, whether it is money, power, possessions or just the way it used to be.
Now that I have you good and depressed, what is the answer? An old saying goes something like this: “Change is inevitable; growth is optional.” It is the absolute truth. However, too often we don’t want to believe that. We do not want to change. We even want to go back to the good old days. We don’t want to admit to knowing the facts of life today. We don’t want to believe that every person, animal and plant on this planet is tied together. We don’t want to believe that we are all going to die. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but that will happen to each of us. Nobody gets out of this in the body we have.
We must change if we want a future for the world. We must realize that this is the only place we have to live, the only place our children have to live. If we think that hatred, war and burying our head in the sand can accomplish this, we are sadly mistaken. We must understand that everyone and everything is our neighbor and we must treat them as we want to be treated.
So, leading into this holiday season, open your eyes and look around you. See the people who are homeless. See those who are hungry. See those who are hurting. Now do something about it.
Donate food to the area pantries. Donate money to support those in need. Work at the Community of Hope a couple of hours. Be a mentor at the area prisons. Volunteer your time for a good cause. Smile and say hello to those you meet.
Just do something positive for all of those around you. If you do this, you will enrich them and yourself. No matter how long you have on this earth, make it your goal to leave this world a better place, because if you don’t, who will?