by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
May 4, 2007
WANDERING AND WONDERING
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- You have thought it yourself, I know you have. You're driving along some road in America - it doesn't matter if it's a highway or a byway - and the thoughts come to you. You wonder what you ever did to deserve this majesty while so many in the world are traipsing through raw sewage just getting on with their days.
There are days I don't think of it at all. Other times, I grip the steering wheel as if determination alone will assure that my embracing my own reality will forever hold it fast.
I don't see a vehicle on the road manufactured in the last millennium, in fact, most of them seem to have a futuristic look about them, silver and sleek, headlights so blindingly bright they appear not white but blue. I start squinting long before the oncoming cars pass.
Last week's torrential rains prompted early blossoming of azalea bushes blooming along the roadway. I can't seem to focus on the beauty of it all and at the same time listen to the news of the morning on National Public Radio.
Suicide bombers. 36 dead. Marketplace. Iran. Afghanistan. Marines. Americans. Pakistani. Who, what, where? Death count. Angelina Jolie, Madonna. Compassion. I find myself wishing I could do what they are able to do - but even then, it's still just one child at a time.
Is wondering what I can do helping to dissuade the culpability inherent in having so much when so many who live parallel lives to mine have so little?
I'm heading north to Charlotte, North Carolina - a beautiful state enjoying all four seasons, although never too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. And, I must say, it's beautiful in the spring. It's a mostly sunny and pleasant day, as the newscasters say and predicted as well for the rest of the week.
How lucky can I get?
But, what about the others? What can I do to help? Is 22 cents a day making a difference in the life of a child starving in Africa? Is it enough to give clothes to the Salvation Army? Is a check to the dedicated missionaries helping as much as I can? If I "let go and let God," is that a cop out?
Most of us sit around ringing our hands: "Why doesn't someone do something?" As least that's what I do. Many of us protest. We protest by condemning the people representing us who aren't doing more to alleviate the pain, death and destruction in our world. We shout out that they DO SOMETHING or give their job to someone who will. Now exactly whom do they have in mind?
At the risk of sounding like a defeatist, I haven't noticed any giant steps for mankind since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. We keep our focus not on the big picture but just upon what is right in front of our eyes - as I'm doing today driving along beautiful I-77 north from Columbia S.C. to Charlotte - just north of the border between states.
I see a difference: gasoline in South Carolina was $2.58 a gallon and now in North Carolina, it's $2.78. I can't tell you why the disparity; state taxes, perhaps, for even so short a distance between the two stations as 100 yards.
Again, there is the bigger picture. And, of course, there are many people arguing that all the misery in the world can be placed right between those pumps. But their words do not alleviate the suffering of those people who are being forced out of the lives they were born into - as were their parents and grandparents generations before.
I have greenery and growth and more water to sustain it all beyond our needs. The question remains: How can I accept what it appears I can not change? An ancient society has become a nomadic society - not by design but by circumstance.
How are they coping? What do they do? What can they do? What can I do? Naturally, I can pray for their strength to withstand what is happening in their lives. But, I can't call upon God to handle the situations. God gave us free will and there is no doubt that whether we are in the position of trying to help or deliberately hindering - it is our own free will that has brought into focus what we now can't control.
When people shrug and say "the poor will always be with us," it states a fact but never a solution. As I stare through the stately forests in my relaxing drive, I'm reminded of a line from "Camelot," when King Arthur and Lady Guinevere are singing about what the "simple" folk do as opposed to themselves, enjoying the life of the Royals. Simple could mean the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed.
"What keeps each of them in his skin?" "When all the doldrums begin What keeps each of them in his skin? What ancient native custom provides the needed glow? Oh, what do simple folk do? Do you know?"
I don't. And, I have no idea how to put an end to their suffering. I can only keep it in focus.