The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can.
These last many weeks I have focused on global issues of war and peace and what we may do to further the cause of peace. I stand by all that I have written regarding these subjects. Yet, they are not the only subjects that are of human concern in this world.
I have staked out a position that issues of war and peace, particularly diminishing the threat of global nuclear annihilation is the most important cause there is. I have also said that it is not the only cause there is. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. That is, we can concern ourselves with more than one issue at a time, both as individuals and as a community.
This point has been brought home to me recently by an awareness of the phenomenon of proximity. This occurs when you realize that things close to you matter more than things farther away, even things obviously more important. Therefore a dog suffering in your home pains your heart more than a child starving 6000 miles away. Again, we can concern ourselves with both situations, it is not an either/or scenario.
It is possible, however, that we concern ourselves too much with either the proximate or the distant. Our gaze can stay too long upon one horizon line or the other. The difference is that usually it is our mind that concerns ourselves with those issues and causes that are far away and it is our hearts that are pulled toward those things nearby. It’s not that our emotions are not stirred by images from abroad but those things that occur in our “backyard” are of greater emotional impact. This is never truer than when it concerns people you know.
The list is always long about people close to us that matter. I have realized this lately, as I pulled back my gaze from afar and looked closer to home. You realize there are people in your life that need care concern and prayers. A good friend with a new cancer diagnosis, a pastor discerning her next move, a child buying her first house, an old dog now needing heart medicine every day, a father-in-law needing physical therapy and extra assistance are just a few people on the list.
Then there are those with the always extant struggles of daily living. Some with addiction issues, or those with chronic health struggles, and those who are bereaved (age has made this list particularly long). There are those struggling in their business or are having family issues and suffering from broken relationships. These are the things that pull on our hearts the most, if for no other reason than their proximity. Also, because of their proximity, these are the things we can do the most about. Never underestimate the impact you can have on those closest to you by way of a simple message, or a phone call, or a card. There is no special eloquence needed. You simply must be present. That is enough. It is enough to lift someone’s spirits, to bring them a smile and to know unequivocally that they are not alone.
I am not claiming any special status here. I have a list that is no longer or filled with more suffering than anyone else. We all have a list like this. That is the point. We can all make an impact on the people God has placed in our lives. All that is needed is to take a bit of time and pause from looking at the big picture of faraway global events and causes and place our eye toward those people that need our care and concern in the here and now.
My advice, and this advice is directed as much at myself as anyone else, is to keep your mind on those things that are global in nature, but to also focus your heart on the people closest to you. God has given all of us the ability to use both our hearts and our minds in this way. So, trust God and go on out and do the best you can.
Praise Be to God