Here is a quick post.
I say quick, but, we’ll see…
Lately I’ve been thinking about obligations. Actually, I’m just saying that so this post more closely relates to the title I chose.
(Yes, you heard that correctly: I write the title first.)
But now that I think about it…
Lately I’ve been thinking about noise. As in, political noise, social noise, facts versus feelings, theories versus truths, objectiveness, subjectiveness, and all the other noise you hear when you browse social media, turn on the TV or radio, or say “hello” to another human being. Not to mention the yelling, name calling, threats, and “repost for love” nonsense. It is everywhere. And you can’t get away from it.
Unless you turn it off.
And as easy as it is to power down a computer or phone, that’s not going to be enough. You’re going to need to turn off your mind.
NOT YOUR BRAIN, your mind.
We like to think that we are expanding our minds when we learn new things. But that’s just a lie. When you learn something new, that’s useful, you are growing your brain. When you come across new ways of thinking, intellectual jargon, and argument-response tactics you are filling your mind with (Caution: Jesus talk ahead!) things of this world. Those things being completely useless information that only can be used to show how smart you think you are and how much more enlightened you appear to people who simply don’t know how to use their brain.
Example: A guy spouts all his learnin’ about global warming, politics, welfare, healthcare, migrants, and history. Yet, he can’t change a tire on a car. (Because why would he need to? Changing tires isn’t “manly” and you’re not “manly” because you know how.) He won’t hold the door for other people. (Because he doesn’t want to offend anyone by inferring that they are weak or don’t know how to open a door so he must help them.) He doesn’t help the needy or less fortunate. (Because people wouldn’t be needy if the government had good welfare programs to give people the money and goods they needed to live a happy life.)
But he misses the point.
You learn how to do things like change tires because you might need to know how. You need to learn how to take care of the things you own so you can fix them when they break and keep them working for a long time. That way, you actually save money in the long run. It’s not about being manly or masculine. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself, your things, and your life. It’s about being prepared. It’s about being able to think critically and solve problems and find solutions. That’s how you grow your brain.
You hold doors for people because you already have the door open. Why would you just let it close in someone’s face? You do nice things for people, not because they can’t do it for themselves, but because you are capable of doing it. So, do it. It’s nice to be nice. This leads to other kinds of selfless behaviors. And that’s the real goal: to be selfless. Hopefully, although you don’t bet on it, this kindness becomes contagious. You do something nice for one person. They do something nice for another person. And this goes on and on. Soon, everyone is just being nice to one another. Wouldn’t that be nice?
And speaking of being nice, it’s nice to take care of those who really cannot take care of themselves. “The less fortunate” is just a catch-all term for any persons or families who don’t have the money to pay for goods and services that people believe everyone should have or be able to acquire. But whether it’s a homeless person, a poor family who can’t afford clothing, an elderly widow who’s on a fixed income, or a military veteran who can’t afford medications, we should want to help them all. And of course, having the government swoop in and give them what they need would be nice. But where does the government get the money to give the homeless houses, and the naked some clothing, the elderly some food, and the veteran good healthcare? (More Jesus incoming!) I believe it comes from us. Whether you have organizations such as Catholic Charities or a tax-supported welfare system, it’s still the people supporting the people. One way (with organizations) you have good people giving of themselves to help those in need. And the other way (with taxes) you force people to pay for other people’s needs.
I believe we are obligated to help one another.
(Look, I brought it back around!)
I believe that things are never going to be perfect on this planet. And that’s why we need to take care of each other. If we take care of each other then by extension we will always be taken care of.
And it goes even deeper.
Remember when I said you have to “turn it off”?
Yes, turn off the social media. Turn off the phone. Turn off the electronics. But once you’ve powered down DON’T JUST SIT IN NATURE AND TAKE IN THE SIGHTS AND BECOME ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE! That is a waste of time. A little soul searching never hurt anyone, but use your brain: what could you accomplish if you weren’t relaxing all the time?
We waste so much time living in the noise. Then we make excuses for escaping the noise. And while we’re escaping the noise, with our phones firmly in our hands, we accomplish nothing. We don’t even accomplish our primary task of “unwinding” or “relaxing.”
What we need to do is leave the noise behind while going on with our lives. We need to get out into the world and do something. If there are wrongs, we need to go out and right them. I’m not talking about putting on a suit and pretending to be a bat. I’m talking about going out to places where people need help and helping them. If you know people in your community need food, then collect food and bring it to them. Help them learn to cook with little ingredients but still make good, nutritious foods. And stop eating so much junk yourself. If you know people need clothing, donate your own clothing. Collect clothing. Help people clean their clothes so they last longer. If you see that homeless people are starving or freezing on the streets then find a place willing and have days when homeless people can seek shelter or get a meal. If you know there’s an old lady down the street who needs company go visit with her, bring her a meal, play a card game, or just sit on the porch and talk.
You don’t need the government in order to do nice things for people. You can just DO NICE THINGS for people. You’ll be surprised at how it feels. You’ll be surprised at how others react. You’ll be surprised at how others treat you or even want to join you.
And people will attack you.
Every time you do good, someone will attack you. They’ll wonder about your motives. They’ll think you’re odd. They’ll say nice things to your face, but behind your back they’ll bad mouth you to everyone who asks. They’ll try to get rid of you. They’ll try to stop you. They’ll try to force you into hiding.
THIS IS ALL NOISE and you need to turn it off.
Do good for the sake of doing good. It’s one of a very few number of obligations you have here on Earth.
P.S. – Obligations you have here on Earth, from a Christian perspective: (A.) Love God, (B.) Love everyone else, (C.) follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
P.P.S. – Love is a verb. It is actions. It is behaviors. You show Love.