I rescued a puppy last week. His fate was uncertain and a compelling urge to not sit on the sidelines and let another innocent creature perish swept over me and I uttered the words, “I’ll take him!” I set myself up when I do that. I am beginning to lose count of all the little creatures I have rescued in my lifetime, and I have wanted to keep every single one of them. I have decided to quit denying that I’ll want to keep them and that has made me wonder if I should adamantly refuse to rescue anymore…but I have come to the conclusion that that would be selfish.
Perhaps selfishness is one of the greatest inhibitors of leaving the sidelines in the great game of life, for true kindness requires altruism. The easiest thing is to pass the baton of sacrifice along with a few dollars and then say we have done our bit and given to charity. But it doesn’t work like that. Money often only aggravates the situation. Think about it – many of America’s poor are receiving free handouts every day from the community and the government, while teachers, principals, and other service-oriented professionals are forced to accept pay cuts and rising costs. To really help someone in need, one must accurately target the need and not merely the symptoms, but that demands time and heart.
My suggestion is that individual citizens would no longer acquiesce to the government’s involvement in all of our moral issues. The government lacks the heart and kindness to truly make a difference, for all it can do is throw our money at the situation. Only people can help people, for we know what it takes to truly revive a wilting spirit and a dying soul. The products of our own hard working hands are what allow for a satisfied slumber at night, and knowing that the people in your community value you enough to hear your story can provide a soothing balm for a bitter spirit.
A loving family has since adopted Ocean, and though it was not easy to let him go it was a joy to know that I had played a part in the rescue cycle. I did not sit on the sidelines, nor did I indulge my selfishness. Sacrifice is painful, but it’s the good kind of pain that sets a person free to do all the good we were designed to do.