There is an old Compaq desktop computer in one of the classrooms where I work. It was out of date and running incredibly slowly and so for the first half of the school year it was shut down and sitting on the desk. The kids all have laptops, anyway, so there was no need for it. Apparently, several weeks ago somebody decided to try to use it because I came in one day and it was turned on. And it seemed to be stuck in this unending cycle. It would suddenly boot up and slowly load Windows. A few seconds after Windows loaded, the shutdown process would begin. And the old Compaq would turn off. Within seconds it was on again and slowly loading Windows. It actually looked like it was painful, yet at the same time it was mesmerizing to watch in a way. I found myself feeling a bit sorry for the old boy.
The weird thing is - that went on for weeks and nobody did anything about it, including me, until the other day when I finally pulled the plug!
Every day, literally for weeks on end the computer turned itself on, booted up, logged out, shut down and did it again. Over and over. And we didn't do anything about it. When it finally got to me today - I found myself wondering why nobody turned it off? And then I wondered why I didn't turn it off? So I did.
Seems like I have a lot of areas of my life which are like that. There are issues or situations that happen repeatedly and in the vague recesses of my mind I know I should do something about them, but for some reason I don’t bother until they nag at me so much I finally take action to fix them. Here’s a prime example: I know my mom loves to get mail. She really does. She faithfully sends cards to everyone in the family for all kinds of reasons. And I buy cards to send to her, because I know it will mean a lot. But then I bring them home and put them on the desk, and eventually they get moved inside the desk drawer and I never mail them. That’s terrible! And it has been nagging at me so much I am going to send her a card or a letter right away.
Self improvement is challenging to say the least. It is far easier to look at the lives of those around me and think about how they need to improve than it is to address the recurring issues in my own life; yet I know I would benefit more if I spent time thinking about and facing my own issues rather than picking apart others’. I have to say, I am getting better at dealing with self-change and like everything else about me, I am a work in progress but there is definitely room for improvement.
I am always impressed by people who take initiative to do something to deal with problems head on. They seem few and far between. Most of us tend to sit back and hope someone else takes on the challenges. I even see this with things that seem small. At the school where I work are these magnetic doors between the hallways. It is tricky to get them to stay open once a student pulls the magnets apart. It takes some work. But they are very heavy and really impede traffic flow in the halls when they keep shutting. I observed the doors one day and out of fifty or so people who struggled to hold them open to get through, only one stopped and worked hard to re-attach the magnets - an effort which, in the end, benefited everyone! She was my hero.
Sometimes I observe to see if anyone will pick up trash in the halls, or help a student who drops something. Once I saw I girl drop a cell phone and tons of kids just kept walking and kicking it around while she was trying to pick it up. They were not intentionally trying to be mean, they just didn't do anything to help her. She finally retrieved it herself and boy was she angry! I don’t blame her. It wouldn't have been hard for the first person who came upon it to pick it up and give it to her. But nobody did.
I look for the kinds of people who take initiative and try to fix what everyone else walks by and ignores. I want to be one of those people. I am trying to become someone who jumps in and takes care of what I can when I can regardless of what everyone around me is doing or what they might think. Those are the kinds of people I want involved with The Torch.
There are huge problems in our society. And sometimes we are so accustomed to them and to doing nothing about them that we don’t. Or sometimes people tell us we can’t. The only thing I know for sure about can’t is if we don’t try we really can’t. I know The Torch is not going to alleviate hunger in Livingston County, but we can become join forces with a group of people who are the kind who get involved - like Salvation Army, Gleaners, and the Livingston Hunger Council - and we can do what we can to help the people who cross our paths, but in our own different way. Thinking about hungry children makes me sad, especially when I see it as a cycle that doesn't seem to end - the computer at work was like that in a small way - but knowing I am stepping up and trying to make a difference reinforces the knowledge I am doing what I am called to do.
What kind of person are you?
Do you jump in and do something to fix the problem?
Or do you prefer to wait for someone else to do it?
If you are the kind who jumps in - shoot me an email, because I want your help with The Torch!