Do you truly pay attention to the less fortunate?
Published 8:55 am Monday, October 25, 2010
Julie Seedorf, Something About Nothing
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Those words are from the song “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and were written in 1955 by Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller. The song was written after a troubling time in Ms. Jackson’s life. She wrote the song after discovering the joy of God’s peace and unconditional love.
On a recent Sunday evening the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” was the perfect ending to an evening fundraiser for the food shelf in my area. It was an evening of incredible talent and incredible statistics highlighting the need for the food shelf.
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I listened in awe as they told us what was needed for the food shelf to serve the growing number of hungry families. I did not know the amount of food given to individuals and families was measured in pounds. I had thought by giving large packages of food it would be better because it would last a family longer. I didn’t know that a heavy bottle of detergent would cut down on the other food they could choose because of its weight.
I have an oven and a stove to cook my food. Some people only have a microwave oven or a hot plate. That is all they can afford. I hadn’t thought about that. Had I taken the time to inquire or pay attention, the facts I heard that night would not have shocked me.
How many of us actually pay attention? Yes, we hear the pleas for food from the food shelves. We drop extra groceries into the boxes by the door at the grocery store. We hang food on the doorknobs for the letter carriers and Cub Scouts when they have food drives.
When the plea goes out that the food shelf is low in food, we pump up our giving either by writing a check or buying a grocery bag of food. We then continue on with our lives without thinking about those that are actually in a situation where they need that food. We don’t ever think it could be us. I imagine those who use the food shelf did not ever imagine that they would need to use a food shelf or be in the situation they are in either.
The statistics on usage of food shelves are different in each county, each city and each state. But the statistic that is the same is the fact that we have hungry and homeless people in the United States of America. Another statistic that is the same is that the need for food is growing in every city, every country and every state.
It seems overwhelming the number of people who are hungry and homeless. It is easier to not think about it if we are not hungry and homeless. It is also hard for us to understand if we are not hungry and homeless.
As the entire audience was asked to stand and join in the singing of “Let There Be Peace On Earth” the thought crossed my mind that we have been singing about peace for a long, long time and it almost feels hopeless to think there will ever be peace in this world.
These words flowed through the building and out into the universe.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me
I think many people would agree me when I say it was an inspiring moment. I looked around and many people including myself were wiping their eyes.
As much as we were moved by the evening and as generous as people were with donations for the food shelf, if we do not carry that song with us every day of our life we will forget. If we do not take that solemn vow, nothing will change.
It is up to us, each of us to find that peace in our hearts, carry it with us and pass it on. It is up to each of us to do what we can however small our means.
Everyone has different gifts to share. If you don’t have the finances to donate money to help others, perhaps you can donate your time. Maybe a friend needs a kind word. Perhaps they need help at the food shelf or serving meals. If you are a gifted writer, perhaps you can help with publicity. Maybe you can swing a hammer for Habitat for Humanity. Or perhaps maybe all you have to do is be kind to a clerk or smile at a stranger.
Maybe we should change the words to the song a little bit. “Let there be peace on earth and it can begin with me.”
Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send e-mail to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog is paringdown.wordpress.com. Listen to KBEW AM radio 1:30 p.m. Sundays for “Something About Nothing.”