Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Call to Action!

First off for all those that take the time to read the ramblings of my disheveled mind, thank you. I know sometimes I rant and rave and go down bunny holes that make little to no sense. The current conversation, spiked by my recent appearance in Reno, NV and also my activities with my American Legion Post 65 in Statesville, NC., so without further ado, I bid you a good reading.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

As children we learn to get along, respect grow and fit in hopefully. Then in HS, we want to more, we expect to change the world maybe. Some people go on to college, but our veteran community goes out to serve. They sign a check with their life potential and time, and for 2 to 30 years we complain, we grumble, swear, and all sort of other unmentionable things. We will do what we as ordered in the name of serving our country in most cases without hesitation.

There are many reasons we do it, that doesn't matter really. What is key, is that we do it. When we hang up the uniform, we come back home or go somewhere new. Hopefully to start a new life, maybe a family. If we're lucky, we are successful however that is defined. But, the real question is that part of our lives that we signed away whether in combat or behind a desk or somewhere in between, how is that shaping your future. How is that shaping the future of your lineage?

How do we use our experience to benefit others? If this question is foreign to us then what can we do in getting ourselves into action?

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 
― Mother Teresa

If you are listening watching reading my rant, then in some way something inside of you accepts that we all want a better world. I had to be given a death sentence to understand I could start to live. The kicker is I don't live life fully unless I'm living to help others. A long time ago I heard a saying; you have to give it away to get it. How crazy is that? In being told I was not going to get better and that my body was, in fact, dying, I was able to live for today, One Day At a Time.

I finally started to understand what it meant to do for others. A simple concept of don't steal someone's blessings began to become acceptable. What does that mean? I've always enjoyed helping others. I considered myself to be a generous person for the most part. Come to find out I was very selfish. I could do for others often, but when others attempted to do anything for me, I would shut them down. I'm not a Roman Catholic scholar. Therefore, I don't know many stories of the saints; however, I seem to remember that St Francis was well-known for penance and self-persecution. (Probably have the saint wrong for the weave I'm working on) however, I was never able to accept help or anything well from others graciously.

It was pointed out to me one day, that I was stealing others blessings. The good feelings I received when I helped others was something I was brought up to do and it gave me worth to my actions. Especially when dealing with my past transgressions, the acts of kindness allowed me to see myself as not the hideous person I was in my own mind. While in shutting others help out I was still being a selfish person in not allowing others the joy of service.

Now, why do I point all of this out? Our passion/service work is a two sided coin. Whatever we sow has to be reaped. A feast prepared, is no good if we don't have a crowd that's hungering to eat. We as a community, of Veterans, must extend ourselves past our average level of comfort to ensure that we reach not only our veteran community but also the nonveteran community to show them what real brotherhood is all about. The lessons we have learned through blood sweat and tears can and should be shared, but will not be if we lock ourselves into our halls and just support ourselves.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 
― Margaret Mead

Every one of us has talents and abilities. Not all of us are great community leaders or speakers. Not all of us can reach out and touch many, but every one of us comes in contact with someone at least on a weekly basis. Whether we are at a grocery store or gas station all, we have to do is become aware of our surrounding's. Look for that Service oriented cap or shirt. All we have to do is put our hand out and ask if someone served. We may not be able to explain why our VSO (for me, it's the American Legion) is so important to our veteran community. What we can do is extend an invite and ask for a phone number, email or address so someone who is good at explaining can contact them. The act of reaching out is all it takes. We all have to start and assume the responsibility to grow our brotherhood and community. Let It Begin With Me!

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” 
― Albert Einstein