what are we looking for?

I have been sucked into the world of social networking. I resisted it for the longest time. I didn’t need to know what people were doing who I hadn’t seen since high school…since grade school. If I was actually interested in that person, we would still be friends. I didn’t want to be one of “those” people. I wasn’t popular in high school. I didn’t network then. I wasn’t social. Why do I need to do it now? But then one night a couple weeks ago I quit trying to analyze it and set up an account on Face Book.

And while I have actually run into some people that I haven’t minded running into, it is fascinating the amount of people out there making random connections because they have a friend on someone’s page who knew someone once long ago. And it is interesting to me why any of us are out there doing this. Maybe we are looking for recognition. Looking for verification that what we are doing actually means something to someone. Looking for comfort in the connections.

ordinary people

This year for our boss’ Xmas, my department at work decided to take a little different approach. The boss’s son is autistic, so we decided to collect cash and make a donation in his name. There were a couple of us in the department that were doing charitable things for Xmas this year so it seemed like a natural progression. I don’t think any of us thought much about it. We thought it was a good idea…so money was collected and we presented it to him earlier this week.

He cried.

He said this was the best gift that he has ever received.

And as I’m standing there with a few of my other co-workers listening to this, I realize that what we did was pretty extraordinary. I think I work with a group of people who define ourselves as very ordinary. But maybe the things we do that we consider ordinary aren’t really. I don’t think any of us realized that this act would invoke such a reaction. I think this small group of people who seem to lead very ordinary lives are a little more extraordinary than any of us thinks.

card carrying member

Sometimes I am ashamed to be part of the human race. And trust me…it’s not all the time. I know humans can be very compassionate. I see the volunteers, the person who hands a bum a dollar and the kid who helps the old lady carry groceries to her car.

But the times that bother me are when I hear about instances like the issues with the safe haven law in Nebraska. I am all for safe haven laws. There will always be unwanted babies…why not give them safe places to be dropped. But who would have thought that by not designating an age limit, that parents from across the nation would bring in kids of all ages to drop off.

While I am not a parent, I can not imagine for a second how you would raise a kid for 10…12…17 years and then just decide its not working out for you. How do you decide your only option is to just get rid of the kid? I can’t think of ANYTHING a kid would do that you wouldn’t forgive, that you wouldn’t want to help out with or that you wouldn’t want to help support them through. I can’t imagine what goes through that kid’s head as their parent drops them off and essentially says, “Sorry Johnny. I gave it a good go, but this just isn’t going to work.” That kid is scarred for life…and the cycle continues.

a rough start

I sat on my couch and cried this morning as I listened to a story of a family whose house had caught fire because they were using the fireplace to stay warm. They couldn’t afford to pay their electric bill and now they don’t have a home. Then I cried some more as the reporter gave tips on how to keep warm if you couldn’t afford to heat your house. I can’t believe it’s come down to a reporter telling people they can hang shower curtains in front of windows to block drafts and that families should think about sleeping in the same bed together to use each other’s body heat.

And the really scary thing is, I think its going to get worse first.