Six hundred people were seated in the beautiful Andrew Mellon Auditorium on Constitution. The vast Smithsonian Museum complex lay just outside the gated entry. I have to make this comment because I simply am so enamored of my hometown. My parents chose an inspirational city in which to raise their children. The entire purpose of this town’s existence is to hold the physical presence of our country’s heart. It became entrenched in my own.
What is its heart? Protection of its citizens and their freedoms to live their lives the way they desire without harm to others and WITH the presence of mind to help those in which they are able.
The 2010 National Lupus Gala brought me full circle. I have veered from the beliefs I held as a young adult. Clarification. I have not veered from my beliefs; I have tucked any action in their direction into a drawer.
I clearly recall a trip to see a marionette performance, with my mom and brother, at the Smithsonian. At that moment, I did not realize how fortunate he and I were. I felt like a cast member of “The Sound of Music“. My Mary Jane shoes and nice winter coat made me feel ever so special. I feel somewhat guilty for the experience. Such experiences, and living in our nice home off of the GW Parkway, seemed the norm to me. Looking back, driving to my Dad’s office or going out with my friends, I often saw the marker that is the Washington Monument. Seeing the monument, living on what was farmland of our first president instilled something in me that I have denied. I felt a draw to service, not political mind you, unless it is in a background capacity. I feel remiss in knowing I have not given enough of myself.
I feel remiss in knowing that I have not given enough of myself to make a difference (hate the cliché) in truly substantial ways. I place the emphasis on the word, “given”. Non-profit. Nothing in return for having contributed. Though this may not be completely true. I would like, nothing monetary, nothing more than to have raised children that feel a sense of deep compassion for all, tolerance and acceptance of all that differ in their views, and a desire to help those less fortunate. This would be a very positive by-product.
While seated in this room of massive columns and beautifully cut marble details, with extensive white swags draping windows which ran nearly ceiling to floor, I watched several members of a sadly, too exclusive club receive honors for their time, concern and work to fight an extremely debilitating disease, lupus. These people refuse to stop believing in a world that one day exists without this illness. To witness this devotion was and is overwhelming.
In my small slice of time on this earth, I have witnessed the generosity of quite a few. I would hope we all have. My faith in the goodness of hearts, the giving of self, in these ways has been renewed.
As a child, the news was on the tv nearly continuously. Slowly I grew to see this world, with all of its beautiful different peoples, as a place containing much hurt towards those beautiful different peoples. One of the displeasures of becoming an adult is realizing how abundant these negatives are. For entire populations needing sustenance in the form of simply water and a solid food, the lack of such is shocking. I will not get into the politics of how this and many other horrid situations have come to be or why they take place. The reasons are so complex; I could not begin to write my theories, as I am fairly simple-minded in those matters. I see my own children now moving from innocence to taking note of the indiscretions against populations and individuals. Isn’t it distressing to witness their disappointment?
As a parent, I sincerely try to focus on the positive. Emphasis on the word “try”. I know I have not always been as optimistic as I have desired to be. Though actually, I have to say that there is a running argument between my husband and myself over a simple example of such. Grades. Not necessarily that they exist, but the method in which they are delivered. The focus on the incorrect answer with red marks and circles does not incite a positive image upon which the child can grasp, particularly when this form of learning is repeated for years on end. Surely corrections need to be addressed, but shouldn’t the FOCUS be on the positive points in the work? (My ramblings, but there is a point.)
To raise our future citizens, we protect, advise and teach. We want them to see the beauty of this world. We want them to see the possibilities for the future, their own and for the world with which we will leave them. As they see the other side, we again, as with schoolwork, need to focus on the positive. We need to focus on what can be, with our help, with their help, in the months and years to come.
I know of the mission groups that frequent Mexico, New Orleans, and Haiti, amongst other areas deserving tremendous help. These groups are giving selflessly to better the lives of others. Now, if on our own, each one of us would give of ourselves to help those in need help themselves and their own communities, we might see dramatic positive changes. Not a giving that is forced by entities outside of ourselves but is offered by our own separate hearts.
As one single, simple soul, I am making this a point, a purpose, of my life here. Outside of family, isn’t this attitude the point of living? Easing the lives of those in pain? Everything else is icing. The icing may taste great, but without a strong base, dedication to a selfless cause, the icing, the goodies in life mean nothing and collapse.
Treating all on this earth as extensions of ourselves puts the superficial, we think we desire, back in its rightful place. Each of us in the private sector needs to step forward. The solution to our earthly problems is within each of us. Whether we are giving of our time, or money, the decision of which to offer is our own. Go ahead. Make the decision to make a change.