Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Joining Hands for a Common Purpose

Today is Veteran’s Day and I am thinking about my dad who served in the military for 29 years and loved President Eisenhower. On October 8th,1954 President Eisenhower issued the first Veteran’s Day Proclamation which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose”. And so today, almost fifty years later there will be parades, memorials, and speeches around our country, joining hands in the common purpose and remembering and giving consideration to this worthy cause.

Tomorrow is another special day you might not know about. November 12th is International CJD Awareness Day. I am sure that it won’t make the nightly news. Most people don’t even know that a disease exists with such a name as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. I certainly didn’t until someone I loved was diagnosed with it. Then it became real to me. And when we learned there was no treatment or cure, it led me to discover just how many rare and unknown diseases exist. In fact, over 1000 are listed on the website of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (and in case you are interested in that cause you can mark your calendar to observe Rare Disease Day on February 28, 2010).

There is no shortage of causes in our world – just look on Facebook. With millions of people using this internet tool to network, there is a way to post your cause on the site or join an already existing one. You can write about it, recruit members, solicit and make donations all with just a click. Amazing. Anyone can do it. Even me and I have invited my Facebook friends to join my cause – finding a cure for CJD. It just takes the initiative to figure out the process and something to be passionate about - passionate enough to be moved into action.

Often people “walk” for a cause or they run a marathon. Some people organize a golf tournament or ball. Many of us are simply recruited to be financial participants in these causes, but somewhere at the core of every cause there is a person who probably experienced great pain or suffering and they took the initiative to turn their pain into something that would help others – joining those hands for a common purpose.

My garden club is a perfect example of that. When CJD claimed the life of Megan, they took their sorrow and sold daffodil bulbs (the springtime symbol of hope) throughout the neighborhood. They have decided to sell the bulbs again this year and the bulbs have gone quickly. More hope. If this effort continues, birthed in love and carried out in faithfulness to a cause, hope will bloom on every street in Atlanta in the years to come. As one member said, “One day when we are all in “the home” the buses will pick us up to drive to Brookhaven and view the dancing daffodils we planted so long ago”. I want to be on that bus. I want to look back and remember what I did to offer hope to my community.

Ah…there’s the point I want to make. What is each of us doing to make a difference in our world? What cause have we aligned with? There’s a song that says “What the world needs now is love, sweet love – it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” So start small with your love if you are uncertain. Write a note to someone. Sign up to volunteer. Visit an elderly neighbor. Experiment with those random acts of kindness. Love then grows and can take on causes. It can be planting daffodils, offering financial support for finding a cure for CJD, or simply flying the American flag on Veterans Day. However it looks, it looks less and less at self and out to others and beyond. Jesus called it “feeding sheep”.