Note from Betty: Sometimes, as I’m writing my blog, I know what I want to say but the words just won’t cooperate. That’s what happened last week, and by the time I got the words right it was almost time for this week’s blog, so I just waited till today to post it. My apologies to those who were wondering why there was no blog post last week!
“Gee, but it’s great to be back home.”
That’s the opening line of a Simon and Garfunkel song I usually sing while pulling into our driveway after time away from home. Whether it was a weekend conference, a visit with out-of-state family and friends, or any other occasion, it always feels good to get back home – to sleep in my own bed at night, and to get dressed in the morning in clothes from my closet instead of from a suitcase.
We’ve had several back-to-back trips lately, and as we were returning from the most recent one, I found myself thinking about people who don’t have that luxury – a comfortable and familiar home to return to.
I’m not sure what made me think of this. Maybe it was the frigid weather that’s plagued much of the country lately, and always generates stories about homeless people and the added danger they face in such extreme conditions. Or maybe it was all the news stories about our southern border, and the people who are trying to cross it to get to a better life in the United States. It might even have been the people I met last year in a refugee settlement in Uganda, people who fled their dangerous and war-torn countries, and who didn’t know if or when they’d ever be able to return home.
Whatever it was, it came with plenty of mixed feelings. Sadness that such conditions exist in our country and the world. Frustration over wanting to help but not knowing how – or how much of a difference I can really make. And a bit of guilt over the fact that I do have a solid and comfortable home to return to after I’ve been away, when there are so many people who don’t.
Whenever something like this happens, I remind myself that there are always things I can do to make a difference, even if it’s a small one. It starts with remembering that awareness of a problem is the first step to solving it – and that I can seek out organizations already working on the issue, and support them financially, by volunteering, or in whatever way I am able. I can also make it a priority to pray for those who are homeless. Or far from home and unable to return, for whatever reason.
It seems that every time I start thinking about something this way – whether it’s a huge, global issue or a small, personal one – something relevant happens. I meet someone, or read a newspaper article, or hear about an upcoming program that leads me toward an action I can take, often opening up a whole new world of opportunity and ways to make a difference in the lives of others. And it always ends up making a difference in my life as well.
If that happens, I’ll certainly let you know about it. In the meantime, I hope that in your own travels, near and far, you’ll always enjoy a safe return. And that for you, too, it will be great to be back home.
March 15, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019
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