Most of you who know me also know that I am pretty much a bleeding heart liberal, with hopes of saving humanity and everything else that needs help. Now, obviously I'm not so into it that I give away all of my worldly possessions and go off and join the Peace Corp, but the thought has crossed my mind more than once in my life.
I've been tormented on many many occasions here passing through the cities and seeing the extreme poverty and all the homeless animals....and really it does rip my heart out, and it truly affects my moods. I can be in a great mood, see a poor old woman begging for money and I will be crying shortly after that. I just can't help them all.
One of the things that I thought I would have time to focus on while here is community service....but I haven't really done anything at all. And, when I think about it, I feel really selfish. I have available time to go out and do things, but I have not made the effort to make a connection with a group and to participate. There is a local church nearby that I'm sure could steer me in the right direction, but I haven't gone there in months....I guess I blame my not having a strong command of the language on not wanting to take the step forward to try to make that connection.
The problem is, I'm not sure if I will make that connection while I'm here, and I kinda feel bad about it. I should. I really enjoy helping people and making a difference in some one's life, but I also enjoy, or rather need, the time to relax and rest. I mean, its hard to take care of someone else when you are not taking care of yourself, right? So, I am trying to give myself permission to not feel obligated to save the world, so I can reduce one more source of stress in my life.
I do what I can - I try to give away my money when its available, and I always support the efforts of young people when they are coming around selling things in our neighborhood - I've even started to become more active at home by writing my local congressman on various topics that I feel strongly about.
I'm not sure why I have always felt such a strong desire to help our furry friends, some people would say that if our efforts to support humans were as active as many people's efforts are for animals, that we would solve homelessness or world hunger - and there is probably some truth to that. Maybe its because they are so cute and fuzzy, and maybe its because they can't help themselves....regardless everyone has a soft spot, and I guess that's mine.
Anyway, One of those topics is related to the fates of many house pets that were stranded and separated from their families during the disastrous hurricanes that hit the US last year. I remember feeling so horrible for the families, and for the animals. I think I managed to sign up for a tree-hugger website, and they sent out a notice saying that a bill was up in the Senate to require local and state disaster plans to include provisions for household pets.
I thought it was a great idea, so I sent an email to Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and asking them to support it....well, I sent them an email through the tree-huggers website.....at any rate, they actually responded to the request. It may have just been a canned response, but it kind of made me feel like I was taking part in our great democracy, and actually making a difference.
The bill did pass, you can read more about it here at the tree-hugger website:
PETS Act (Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards)
Anyway, I thought the whole thing was pretty cool. And it makes me feel better by saving the world, from the comfort of my living room.