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Monday, September 23, 2013

... An Opportunity to Serve

This post I am breaking away from the updates on triathlon training and my progress. Not too much to report in that area, as it really comes down to the fact that I am doing a lot of swimming, biking, and running, amounting to about 20 hours a week in total. Besides, it is good to highlight the charities which work to do good in the world. Recently we ran a fundraiser for Alex's Lemonade, and the response was fantastic. We made nearly half our goal of $1,000 to help in the fight against childhood cancer. Today I want to put the spotlight on another unfortunate reality in our world - poverty. Organizations such as Compassion International, or Feeding America, do their own part in trying to bring comfort and stability to those affected by poverty.

We've heard the statistics before, that around 15% of Americans, and nearly half of the world's children, live in poverty. Unemployment in the U.S. is between 7-8% (not including underemployment). There are no shortage of opinions on how to solve this problem. However, these opinions spewed forth in debate do little to spark action, and instead tend to promote political bickering and finger pointing. Sadly poverty has become a political football. So true that many complex macroeconomic issues have a dramatic affect on global poverty. Unfortunately, many people focus on finding solutions at the complex "macro" level, while many tend to neglect what can be done on the "micro" level. Which brings me to a quote provided by the Compassion blog:

"Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve." - Johnny Carr

Up until a couple years ago, I would make myself so angry by the fact that "we" did little to end the suffering of those people living below the poverty line in the world. That for a fraction of the money we spent on wars, we could provide much needed aid to all the world's children. Yet in my self-righteous indignation, what was I doing to be of service to those very people for which I was trying to be an advocate? Nothing but complaining and whining about how "we" as a community, nation, and world weren't doing more.

Once again I was wasting all my energy on things I could not control and had no influence over, while neglecting the service which would provide help to those in need, and serenity to me.

The statement above doesn't necessarily imply that the poverty issue can't be solved. Maybe it can. But individually, our responsibility is to serve each other. If we fulfill on that responsibility and treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated, then more people in need would be given a helping hand. And many small acts of service on a global scale will make a world of difference. Perhaps that is the "solution" we are looking for.

If you would like to be of service today, you can donate to one of our fundraisers for Feeding America or Compassion International. Also, you can visit the Compassion website and sponsor a child in a developing country. It is a very rewarding experience.