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Be the change

I hope to get back to writing one day. I have 5 started blogs with bullet points saved in my phone, but I have not taken the time to write them. But I did want to chronicle what I’m currently doing, especially in light of the fact that I have been so vocal recently on Facebook about the refugees and the hypocrisy of “Christian” America.

It was brought to my attention by a few of my Christian friends and family that they did not see eye to eye with me and felt that their fears of Syrian refugees was justified. I started to feel myself getting angry and becoming deeply disappointed. In an effort to save myself from hating all of mankind for losing their minds, I turned to focus onto myself. I am getting angry with all these people for not supporting the “right thing,” but how am I actually “doing the right thing” in my own life. What am I doing to make this world a better place? Yes, I am trying to reach out to my friends and family and “enlighten” them. But they didn’t ask to be enlightened. They didn’t ask for my opinion at all. How am I practicing what I preach? How can I “be the change?” Not just the voice of change…how can I actually demonstrate what I would like to see others doing?

My mom and I have talked a couple times about Mother Teresa. While I am no saint by any stretch of the imagination, her ability to love and see beauty in some of the ugliest places is something that I strive for. I could fill this blog with quotes from her that speak to me, but I recently stumbled on this one and it affirmed what I was feeling inside of me:

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

Start with the person nearest you.

Abid and I closed on our house 12/23/09. We have lived her almost 6 years and I still don’t know the names or faces of most of my neighbors. I have felt called for years to reach out to them, but for one reason or another have not committed to it. So that changes now. In an effort to be the change and to start with the person nearest me, I have put together a Thanksgiving card (with our family’s pictures on it) and a letter to send to each of the neighbors on my block. It is to introduce us to them and deliver an open invitation for each of them to do the same.

I have read the following justification as to why allowing refugees to come here is a bad idea: When I lock my door at night. It isn’t because I hate those on the outside, It is because I love the ones on the inside.

While I do lock my door every night, I do not like living in fear of everything that is beyond the 4 walls of my home. We are afraid to let our kids play outside or go to the mall without constant supervision because everyone is a creep trying to molest them. We are constantly looking over our shoulder. We want to carry concealed (or not) weapons because everyone we encounter is a potential threat to our safety. Better to shoot first.

I look around the alley behind my house and privacy fences are going up left and right. We immediately drive into our garages and close them…never even making eye contact. I would not even be able to pick my neighbors from a line up.

We fear that which we don’t know. I’m not afraid of my neighbors, but there is no reason why people who live within walking distance of me are complete strangers to me. That is sad. Maybe some of them are old or sick or home bound. Maybe they are single parents who could use a babysitter. Maybe they love karaoke. I’ll never know. A few years back EMS was at one of my neighbor’s homes. I realized that person could have died and I didn’t even know their name.

While we must absolutely be aware of our surroundings and make smart choices, I, for one, do not wish to go through my life feeling afraid all the time. So…I am reaching out to my neighbors…people who already know where I live, what we drive. Whose kids likely go to school with mine. Who shop at the same store as I do. I’m introducing my family to them and inviting them to do the same. I’m hoping that that one small act will tighten the threads that weave together this one tiny block in the fabric humanity.

 “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

I also feel convicted to be the change within the 4 walls of my home as well. Charity begins at home.

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa

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