Compassion, Comfort, Complaining, and Charity: An Author Challenge
Today is Saturday in California. Outside my office are acres of trees ablaze with Autumn colors. My dog is asleep in the warm afternoon sun. My children are safe. Our heat (if we have to turn it on) works. If I need gas in my car, I can drive to a multitude of gas stations with no lines (okay, maybe Costco has a line). The lull of Discovery T.V. drifts under my office door, as my husband learns something about Alaska. It’s an ordinary comfortable day…
Cut to New Jersey/New York: many people are confused, homeless, their pets missing, worried about an incoming winter storm where temperatures are expected to dip to 3-10 degrees. If a person can find a gas station, the lines are up to 2 miles long. At the very worst, some have lost loved ones. Thousands are waiting for aid to arrive, but it’s coming in slowly.
With a great deal of family over there, I was glued to the news for days. We were relieved and shocked to learn (particularly given two families locations) that their homes experienced minimal damage and that everyone is safe! I knew I’d give some financial support, but I wanted to do more.
I’ve watched our nation respond SO kindly to disasters around the world. Americans are a generous people, seeing the need, responding in kind. We are compassionate. But…if we are guilty of a few of things, they are these: time passes, the next big crisis comes along, we get comfortable with our lives, and while we vow to not complain about our lives because, hey, we have heat, running water, our pets, children, ya-da, ya-da, it is human nature to adjust, settle in, and not dwell in the misery. In fact, it would be unnatural and unhealthy if we all became martyrs. However, there must be a happy medium, because too often, the suffering country, state, or families affected by such a tragedy is WORSE off one year later. The aid stops coming in. The funds have run out. And yet, there is much work to be done. A classic example of this is Sendai, Japan.
This is why I’m asking a collective of us to take on a challenge: as authors, I would like us to consider donating a portion of our sales for a minimum of a month to a charity of your choice to help Hurricane Sandy survivors. How much you give is entirely up to you. You may just be starting out, and that feels too scary or risky. Then, just make a dollar amount donation. If, however, you’ve been strong on the charts, take a risk: be generous, just for the sake of helping someone. I hope that this becomes contagious, and encourages two authors to tell two authors, and so on, and so on, like that hair commercial in the ’70s.
Below, I’ve provided a couple of links. One is a story that recommends reputable organizations to donate. The other is a Christian organization that targets specific disaster zones. While I do not belong to a church in this denomination, I have a history with them, and am impressed with their giving history and lack of administrative fees eating up the dollars that people donate.
I thank you ahead of time for sharing this story on your Facebook page, your blog, Tweeting it, emailing it, pinning it on Pinterest, and all the other social media things we can do! Above all, I thank this wonderful author community for the power of compassion. Let’s set aside a slice of our comfort and complaining as we enter into a season of Thanksgiving. As we watch New Jersey, New York, and the surrounding areas rebuild, and witness families receive the aid they need, can you imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel, knowing that you had a little part in that? This is the best success of all…touching another person’s life.