I took a break from as much as possible yesterday to focus on using the feeling of heaviness the best way I could. I still couldn’t. The news surrounding so many recent events has had millions of us shaken and confused. For me, silence is key. I want to stay out of the frenzy, inform myself as much as possible of the necessary facts, and figure out a way to help.
I drove into a dusty sunrise hearing chatter on the radio with updates of new statistics and speculation. I knew the recent storms and violence shed a lot of blood and I was saddened by the fact that I cannot give mine.
Due to my heart condition, I cannot donate blood. As I see Red Cross trucks setting up in the parking lots of various offices in the city, I thought about those who can’t use them. Here are a few ways to help when you can’t give yours for a host of personal reasons.
1. Pay it forward- This does not require money as many of us do not have enough of that to give, either. This can be in the form of helping someone carry heavy items to their car from the store. Your act of recognizing another human as a fellow human is priceless. This can even include going with someone who can donate blood- Support is key.
2. Donate time- Many of our resources (time, energy, supplies) quickly dissipate once help is needed elsewhere. If you’re able, donating time to spend with people who need company or kids who need distraction is more valuable than any check you can write.
3. Volunteer at a shelter- This is one I’ve always had a heart for ever since spending my first Volunteer Thanksgiving in one. Serve food to those who are not only dealing with the heartache of a chaotic world situation but are also facing their own. Sit down and share some conversation over coffee with fellow volunteers or guests. You will be amazed at what you learn.
4. Don’t click the bait- In our world of instant information, news streams and media channels are running rampant with headlines and feeds. There is a major setback to this. The rush to get the first lead is a prime breeding ground for sensationalism and misinformation. Help us save the unnecessary stories from polluting the real ones by stopping to consider if it’s correct, if it’s necessary, and if it’s going to help someone else.
5. Call your representative- This is one not many of us think about on a daily basis. If you have concerns over policies regarding the response to catastrophe or the availability of weaponry.. Really anything- Call your representatives and voice your opinion. You may think that your voice won’t count or be heard. But even 10 voices are really, really loud. Be that guy.
6. Inform yourself- I cannot stress this one enough. Informing yourself of current events and causes is the groundwork for making change happen. We cannot move forward without knowing why we should. It is crucial.