The way I see it you need to have your heart on your head or on your sleeve or someplace where you can lay your hands on it fast. These days, it’s not enough to have your head in the game. Your heart needs to be there, too.
One by one and as a society, we need to have more ‘people are hurting, it doesn’t have to be this way, we need to do something’ thinking and less fiscal analysis, cost-benefit equations, and philosophical posturing.
To my mind, if a single child gets killed by a gun, we ought to get rid of guns. With my heart on my head, I know that the death of one child is as tragic as 26 or 260 or 26,000. I know that a single mother dying of breast cancer because she has no health insurance should shove the metrics of affordable health care into the deepest pit on earth. One old person alone and eating tuna out of a can should be all it takes to make our hearts beat in a different direction.
Where there is so much wrong – schools that don’t work, people who are desperate for help who can’t get it, women getting hurt by their partners, folks hanging on to their dignity by their fingernails – it’s so hard not to drive by, go around, shrug, and blame. It’s exhausting thinking of all that needs fixing so like the tired husband, eyeing the couch, we rationalize giving up on the chores. It’s all impossible, we decide. So we do nothing.
This year, be different. Just do this one thing. Put your heart on your head.
Help somebody have a better time of it right now.
Collect socks for homeless people.
Help a kid with his homework.
Hold the hand of a dying person.
Coax a scared teen to get help.
Talk to a lost soul.
Decide that making things better can be simple. As simple as deciding to put your heart on your head.
If you do this in 2015, I guarantee that you will feel better about yourself and the world. You will be cheered by generosity and buoyed by possibility. The people you help will be surprised and changed – you probably won’t see that but it will happen nonetheless.
I’m not right about everything but I think I’m right about this. Put your heart in the right place and go forth.
Happy New Year!
Originally posted December 31, 2012.