Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I am unfulfilled. I am unsatisfied. I am brilliant. I am a maker of a great future

I get comments about things that I write all the time.
As a journalist, that comes with the territory. There will be some complaints from a soccer mom who's baby I didn't mention enough or a hockey dad with a gripe. Most of the feedback I get is positive and greatly appreciated.
It has been the same as an author. I've had a number of people tell me how much they enjoyed the book of mine they recently read. And that is so rewarding to hear.
One of the most recent comments I read about my writing told me how "Brilliant" I was and "What a great future" was ahead of me.
To read such comments a week or so ago were quite stunning.
You see, these comments were from something I wrote in 1984. They were comments from a teacher about the journal I had kept for a writing class in high school. I stumbled across it while cleaning.
Those comments surprised me because they meant something to me now. I recognize what that teacher saw and I respect that "brilliance" and the bright future. Her words were as relevant today as they were then, if not more so.  I cherish and relish it, knowing that so much is in store for me because I've got so much unfinished business.
I don't recall being so appreciative of those comments back then. I was probably happy that the teacher liked what I wrote and that was good enough. I don't think I grasped what she was truly saying.  As I glanced through that journal, it was so me. The person I am today, I could see signs of him in that journal.
I remember a few years ago sharing love letters that I had written to a girl in high school. I still had hers. She still had mine. I read mine hoping to see some fledgling brilliance in my writing. There was none. The highlight was me saying "My love for you is terminal". I realized I had the wrong word and crossed it out and wrote "eternal" instead.
In this journal, I was writing about music, religion and politics and commenting on the world around me with an idealistic view and strong convictions. It is the same kind of topics that I think and speak about now. I just use bigger words.
That quest and desire to write deeply, powerfully and meaningfully existed even then. I had not developed my desire to write words that are not disposable but the signs were there.
With the death of Pete Seeger, I'm reminded of a quote I read once in book about folk music. When Seeger's son decided to pursue life as a musician, his father pointed out that it would be a life of constant seeking and never being satisfied. His career choice was destined to lead toward an unfulfilled life. It was the price to pay for such a creative mind.
I saw that comment and immediately related to it. I had always wondered why I was the way that I am.
I am always looking for new music to enjoy and inspire, with hundreds of CD's to prove it. I'm always buying books. I just bought five of them last night - that comes after downloading a bunch on my Kindle a few weeks ago. I'd buy all kinds of cookbooks and rarely would make the same dish twice. .
I am always overly critical about the things that I write. The perfect example is a story I did on hockey fighters and the tough role they learned and lived. I was swinging for the fences with that story, hoping for the proverbial home run of sports features. I wrote it and was disappointed. I considered it a swing and a miss. It subsequently was recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Press Association and was the most honored story I've written  - so far.

That Seeger quote made me realize that I was and am always seeking. I'm always looking for something new, something better something different.
I knew that someday I would publish a book. I also knew that I'd publish said book and would likely wonder the very next day what I was going to do next because the published book was yesterday's news. Sure enough, I did just that - even though I already had the next book in mind.
I balked at the idea of it being an unfulfilled life. I felt rather satisfied and fulfilled with my life to some degree. But I saw myself as someone that was always striving and never wanting to be comfortable with the status quo.
As I've gotten older and learned more about life and myself. I still see myself in those words. But I embrace them even more. And when I see that teacher's comment about my writing and perspective being "brilliant" and part of a "great future". I agree and recognize that potential.
For too long, even amidst my striving for new and different things, I didn't see that potential. I didn't embrace it. I didn't pursue it.
But I do now. I am unfulfilled. I am unsatisfied. I am brilliant. I am a maker of a great future. That is what life is about. It is about constantly seeking and finding and then searching some more. It can be tempting to rest easy in life and be along for the ride. That's not what I want. I'm driving the car. I'm making progress. I might even get to where I want to go. But I'm always moving forward and seeking new destinations. There are great things ahead of me on this road and I'm going to enjoy the ride. In that comes fulfillment and satisfaction.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Seeing Past Our Own Handicaps

My first impression of my friend Mark was a negative one.

I watched him slowly make his way along a wharf one evening. He was walking slowing with canes in both hands. His family was guiding him along and someone with a wheelchair was right behind him.

My first thought was "What are these people thinking?"

I was standing on the three-masted schooner Victory Chimes a few years ago. Mark and his father were about to board. I couldn't imagine how this young man was going to make it up and down the ladder-like companionways on the 100-plus year old vessel. We were preparing for a week-long sail.

What I didn't know was that Mark and his father had been on the Chimes before. I also didn't know what Mark was capable of doing. All I saw was what he couldn't do. It was a snap judgment based on my own negative impressions and assumptions.

It turns out that I sailed with Mark twice. It was a wonderful experience getting to know him. He has some form of ALS. He couldn't speak. He struggled to walk. He moved slowly.  But it was amazing to relate and communicate and form a great friendship with him, even though he never spoke a word to me.

I reached that same conclusion last week as I talked to a few coaches. All three are in wheelchairs for various reasons. I was doing an extensive feature on how coaches in wheelchairs cope and still do what they love to do. That story runs Sunday. You can check it out here http://www.sunjournal.com/sports

As I talked to one of them, it suddenly came together for me. He said that people would look at him and say "Poor me". He told me he didn't want "Poor me".

I realized in that moment that people, including myself, often look at people with handicaps and see what they can't do. We pay no mind to the potential and abilities they have that we may not even know about.

One of the people featured in the story is a friend of mine. I've known Matt for many years and don't see him as a guy in a wheelchair. I know the quality person that he is and the kind of coach that he is.

Still, it is easy to look at others and see their inabilities before seeing their abilities. I did that with the other coach mentioned in the story. He's shown in the wonderful photo above (taken by Sun Journal photographer Daryn Slover).

I barely knew him or his story but when I heard he was going to be the varsity coach last year, I wondered how he'd be able to managed that. As a result of him coaching at the varsity level, I got to meet him and have gotten to know more about him. He's a great guy with a tremendous sense of humor and love of basketball. I don't see his chair or his handicap any longer.

I learned a variety of things from writing this feature. A significant part of it was understanding that I don't simply like and admire these coaches because of what they've accomplished from their wheelchairs. They're not handicapped. They're handicapable.  I admire them for who they are despite their handicaps. I know them as good people who are dedicated to coaching and teaching kids. They're not role models because of their wheelchairs. I admire them because they work so hard at what they do and are so committed to doing what they love that they'll overcome anything.

As I was thinking about all this, I also concluded that these conclusions are not just made about handicap people. We make such judgments all the time - about everybody. We're told we're not enough this and too much of that. We define each other, and even ourselves, by our inabilities and even our faults. Those become what we are known for as opposed to what our abilities offer. So-called unconditional love can often come with expectations and conditions.

This story about handicap coaches inspired me to keep plugging away when things get hard to do.  There are people I know that work so much harder to do what they love in comparison. This story also showed me how harmful judgment can be. They wanted to be seen as coaches, not viewed as handicapped coaches. Taking the time to truly know somebody and understand them opens up unimaginable opportunities.

I'm grateful to know people like these coaches. I'm thankful for meeting somebody and getting to know them like I did Mark.

Life shouldn't be about limiting what enriches us. It should revolve around seeking things and people that inspire, teach and just provide us love and joy.

Making judgments is easy and we're too quick to do it. It is a handicap we all must overcome. Understanding takes a little extra time, but it is ultimately worth it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

In honor of their service

I inherited a number of books from my Dad.

I have various book he read, various Bibles he owned and a collection of books and commentaries he used in his pastorate.

Out of all the books he passed on to me, there is only one that he personally presented to me and wanted me to have. It is a book called "Abundant Living". I've never read it and have barely looked at it.  It was given to my Dad by his Army buddy Bob Gough.

My Dad was a radio operator during World War II. Because of his skills as a radio man, he actually stayed behind longer then the rest of his company, much to his displeasure. By the time he reached Europe, the worst of the fighting was over. So Gough shipped out before my Dad and he never came back.

That book sits on a shelf with a number of other things of immense value to me. There's a ship model my grandfather never finished. There's various birds that my Uncle Doug made. There's "the box" that my grandfather left behind for Dad after going to the hospital with a heart attack. It had all my grandfather's pertinent papers.There's my Hitler Youth Knife, one of my Dad's war souvenirs. There's pendant that belonged to my great grandmother Douglass.

The book is an important keepsake not only because it was given to me by my Dad but because I know it was important to him. I know little about Bob Gough but I know he was a valuable friend to my Dad and at very young age. I can't image the feeling of loss he felt when he learned that his friend had been killed in action.

One thing I regret about my Dad is that I didn't talk to him a lot about his war experiences. Maybe he wouldn't have wanted talk about them anyway. But I know one viewing of Saving Private Ryan had him talking about WWII for days, especially if he came across a fellow veteran.

I've always been interested in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War but hadn't developed an interest or appreciation of the history of WWI or WW2.
Since my Dad died, I've learned a little more about that era. I've watched various movies and documentaries, including the Band of Brothers box set, which my Dad would have loved had he ever watched it. I have the Jeff Shaara books on WW2 that I bought for my Dad and now own. I may read those soon.

Learning what I have has given me a greater appreciation of the sacrifices of so many soldiers, including my Dad and his brothers Doug and Albert Mills. And my grandfather sacrificed so much, being a widower that watched his three boys go off to war. (That's my Dad and his brother Al to the right).
When I see how many good men died or were scarred for life from their experiences there, it amazes me that my Dad and his brothers all were able to make it home relatively unscathed.

As much as I'm thankful for their safe return, I'm grateful for their sacrifice and their service. My Dad was just a high school kid when he went off to war.  I can't imagine going off to a World War when I was that age. His brothers were not much older.

I'm glad that the cemetery where my Dad is buried does a nice job recognizing veterans and putting a flag by his stone. My Dad was proud of his service. And I'm proud of my Dad's service as well as that of my uncles. I wish I was able to go visit his grave today but will have to wait for the next time I'm at the coast.
I saw a story on the news the other day about the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln's speech talks about not letting the loss of life at Gettysburg to be in vain.

It made me think about the sacrifice and service of so many veterans, including my Dad and his brothers. (That's my Dad and his brother Doug in Kentucky to the left.)

 How do we truly honor what they have done for our country and our way of life? Do we serve and sacrifice for our country in similar ways?

Look at our country today. I don't even have to expand on the answer. It is shameful that this country has become what it has. Is this the kind of freedom people fought and died for? The bickering, the bipartisanship, the lack of care for doing what is best for our country and people, we're not uniting for the greater good. We spend too much time and energy trying to blame and hate the other side. Our energy is invested in making political points and gaining power instead of making us a better country and a better people.

 In many instances, but not all, we went to war to right a wrong. Our veterans served and died for something that was right. Are we striving to do what is right? Or are we more focused on what serves us best or feeds our wallets instead of our people.

People will tell you they "Support the troops" and they'll wave their flags and vow to never forget. But do they truly honor what our veterans did. Token propaganda and Facebook posts don't do it properly.

I will never serve in the military. I will never be able to sacrifice like my Dad and his brothers did. But I can honor them and their willingness by serving in my own way. I can feed off their bravery, their courage and their willingness to sacrifice for good.

I never talked with my Dad about it but I can imagine him saying to himself that he wanted to honor the memory of Bob Gough and his friend's sacrifice by living a life that would do that. My Dad ultimately did live a life of service, as a pastor, as a teacher and as a man of great strength and courage. I'm sure Bob Gough played a role in my Dad being the person that he became, and my Dad honored his memory as a result.

We can all serve. We can all sacrifice. We can all strive to do what is right in this world. We can all hope and work toward bettering our country. Those are my marching orders. I don't know all the ways I will and can make it happen, but I want my life and existence in this country to honor and reflect the bravery of the people that paved the way for me.

And someday, I hope people can be proud of my service.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Measuring Life

Somewhere in a notebook, tucked away amidst many other notebooks, is a particular song I wrote.

I think when the day comes that somebody inherits my so-called estate, their biggest haul will be pens and notebooks.

And in a lot of those notebooks, some of them dating back to high school and college, have tidbits of stories and songs written in them - as well as drawings of hockey players.

One of those songs I wrote years ago has a line in it that says "Now life is measured by what I haven't got", A pretty happy sentiment.

 When I think about the songs I used to write, I think of something Mike Ness of Social Distortion said during a Live at the Roxy show. He said "You all want to hear a happy song? Sorry, homey, we don't do no happy songs."

Of course, many of my favorite artists don't write happy songs. They write the dark, painful, introspective types. And that's what I used to do - even when I tried not to.

Anyway, I've been thinking about that line about life being measured but what I haven't got. I kind of recall thinking that was a pretty brilliant line back in the day. And maybe that was a good reflection of my mindset then.

But it isn't now. In fact, I try to think and see the opposite. I try not to dwell on what I don't have. I'd much rather embrace and enjoy what I do have.

I think it is easy for people to immediately worry about what is missing instead of recognizing what they possess. We're a society that bitches and moans first instead of being thankful and appreciative. We blame before we look for solutions. We look down at people instead of lifting up. We are fearful before we are brave. We worry before we are confident. We're angry instead of being joyful. We're programed to see the downside of things instead of looking at the great things in life.

I know people who see life in such a negative way that they're just consumed by that outlook. All they do is worry, be angry, complain and blame others for their misery.

I saw a study once on a news magazine show about how people could look through the headlines of the newspapers. Some would see the good things but most would consume the negative and build their outlook and world view from that.

That's not to say I don't have my disappointments and frustrations. I have them all the time. People that I expect better from let me down. People I don't expect to hurt me, do just that. People I hoped would support me as an author, by buying books or writing reviews that I needed, didn't do that for me. There are things in my life that I don't have and wish that I did.

It can be easy to look at other people's lives and wish I had this or that. But I try not to do that any longer. I don't measure life by what is missing. I measure it by what I've been blessed with.

 In all facets of life, I don't want a life like everybody else. I never do what everybody else does. I tend to bounce to the beat of my own drum and do so gleefully.  I want my own extraordinary life. I've realized that I have just that and it can be what I make it.

I was sitting on the deck at my cottage in Owls Head this summer. It was one of those glorious summer days that make me cherish the place more than I ever do. I thought of how fortunate I am to own and have such a place. I even contemplated the idea of if I could trade it for something else that I feel is lacking in my life, would I do it? Not a chance. I wouldn't trade the cottage for anything. It is truly a wonderful blessing in my life and I can't imagine what my life would be without it.

Another example has to do with my job. I'll sometimes hear about someone that I know getting a new job or succeeding in this or that career. I'll feel a twinge of jealousy and wish maybe I'd made that much money or had that kind of life and career. Then I stop myself. I've had the career I always wanted. How many people can say that? It has been a wonderful gift and opportunity to share my skills as a writer and journalist.  I've had some great experiences and memories in my career. I've met some wonderful people. I've done outstanding work and established myself as one of the best in the business and I've done it on my terms - with honesty and integrity and earning the respect and appreciation of the people that have read my work or dealt with me. How lucky am I to have all that?

I heard about a guy yesterday that called in to WEEI to talk about the Red Sox. He was complaining about Manager John Farrell - the day after the Red Sox won the World Series for the third time in 10 years and after being in last place a year ago.

Sure there are things we can gripe about. I see people complain all the time on Facebook. Their life is one prolonged misery it seems. But it is only that way if you look at it that way. That's what I've learned. Your perspective is what you see in it. If you don't like your perspective, change it.

I'm enjoying finding the little blessings of life. So many things I take for granted. I was driving back from a game recently and came across a beautiful sunset as I headed home along Route 4. It is part of nature that happens every day but it is always different and often awesome. So much of life is that way.

Life lets me down sometimes. People let me down often. It still bothers me sometimes. There are things in life I'd still like to have. There are voids I'd like to fill.

But I know God has given me what I need and has blessed me with so much else. When I measure life by the blessings and gifts I have, I'm not only lucky but also joyful and happy. I've realized that life measures up pretty good.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reaching for it

In an attempt to find rest and relaxation, I found inspiration and motivation.
That wasn't quite what I was looking for during last week's vacation. I had a week off to enjoy time on the coast and get away from the world. I had some reading and writing to do and a beautiful place to do it - accompanied by a flock of honking geese that would fill most evenings.
I think any time I have a week off, I hope to be revitalized afterward but this renewal came from things I didn't expect. Some of my favorite artists spoke to me through their example as did a legendary hockey coach. It all makes me excited to be me and live the life I'm living.
It started with a DVD I just got in the mail, a documentary about Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. I've seen Cockburn at least eight times. I've recently realized this commonality between some of my favorite artists like Cockburn, Mark Heard, Buddy Miller or Richard Shindell. They're all poets and prophets. They're music and their words are rooted in the power of their convictions. They can write with a brutal honesty or a subtle feeling from the heart. They're not preaching but offering a perspective for the world to see and learn from.
In Cockburn's song If I Had A Rocket Launcher, he writes "If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die," and in Call It Democracy he says "you don't give a flying f$%k about people in misery." Yet, he writes the absolutely gorgeous words in Look How Far.
"So many miles, so many doors. Some need patience, some need force. All fall open in their own due course.  To allow us this time.
And you're limned. In light, golden and thin. Looks to me. Like you're lit up from within. And look how far the light came. Look how far the light came. Look how far the light came. To paint you. This way.
And I picture us in this light. Friendship a fine silver web. Stretched across golden smoky haze. And this is simple. And this is grace.
And this light. Is a guest from far away. Passing through. The last whisper of day."
Cockburn is a Christian but exists outside the mainstream. He unabashedly writes what he thinks and feels as he informs and inspires that follow his work.
Reflecting on him and his music, it make me want to write deeper and with power and conviction. I realize that I tend to already to do that but it gave me a clearer picture as to why. Whether I'm writing a significant feature for the newspaper or writing a new novel or throwing thoughts into this blog, my goal isn't simply to provide entertainment and something to read. I don't want my words to be disposable. I want them to reach you and reverberate and last. I want to make you think. I want to make you feel. I want to touch you and inspire you. Simply put, I want to make a difference. I want to be my own kind of prophet, speaking my truth to all who have ears to hear it.
Later in the week, I tossed in my Peter Gabriel concert DVD. I couldn't stand the song Sledgehammer when I first heard it. His music challenged me a little at first and it took me some time to accept it. I've seen him three times and am yearning to see him again. By opening my mind to his craft, I've learned so much and made tremendous discoveries in music and in myself.
It just so happened that the following night, I watched a documentary on George Harrison, my favorite Beatle. First, I realized that it was Harrison that was my first introduction to world music, which ultimately blossomed when I started listening more and more to Peter Gabriel. Secondly, I'm always inspired when I hear about Harrison's desire to be more than just a Beatle or a famous musician. He wanted to live a deeper and more meaningful life. In the documentary, his wife, Olivia, says that he lived by the idea that to prove worthy of God's love, you must display a love of yourself and the world around you. Those are like marching orders to my soul every time I hear them.
Then at the end of the week, for the fun of it, I tossed in the movie Miracle. The story of the 1980 Olympic hockey team always moves me. I had the great pleasure of interviewing coach Herb Brooks when he was coaching in the American Hockey League. I'm just glad the movie didn't exist then because I'd have been terrified to go on the team bus to talk to him.
 I often live his words  "you prepare for the unknown" in life, trying to make myself better and ready for the journey on which God is calling me.
In the movie, Brooks tells his players that they are ordinary men but that they can do extra ordinary things. It was their time to do just that. Watching that made me want to beat the Russians myself.
 I want to be beyond ordinary, at least in the things that I do and the work that I produce. It isn't out of ego or a desire to make tons of money but from a want to make an impact. I can feel all the potential and great things God has in mind for me. Sometimes, I have no idea what that is, but it is there and within my grasp. And I'm reaching for it.
I'm proud to say that I feel like I've been doing all that already. I heard a comment yesterday about how somebody's greatness can be determined by reflecting on what life or things would be like without them. I started doing the George Bailey thing and looking at what life around me would be like without my fingerprints.  I was pleased to realize a pretty good impact that I've had on the world around me.
But I'm not done yet. I'm still finding inspiration. I'm still finding motivation. I'm still learning. I'm still growing. And it all speaks to bigger and better things. I was meant to be here. And this is my time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Triumph In Tragedy

I stood there talking to a four-year old - about running.
She had just finished the kids' Fun Run at the Stephen Ward 911 Memorial 5K. I told her I was an official high fiver at the event and that she could be my first high five of the day. She obliged me.
She told me she was four, holding up her four fingers.  I told how impressed I was at her running at such a young age. I joked that I didn't start running until I was 20 - and I quit soon thereafter.
Later in the day when I got home, I thought about that little girl again. She didn't even know my friend Steve, who was in the World Trade Center that day 12 years ago. She wasn't even old enough to be alive on that day. It is hard for me to imagine someone not witnessing or understanding what we all went through that day.
Yet, this little girl was running, so were so many other young kids, whether it be in the Fun Run or in the 5K. Many of them likely were just doing it for fun and had little understanding of the role they played Sunday. But someday, they will.
The race was organized by Steve's sisters and family. The money raised goes to a scholarship. Their intent was to do something positive in the devastating wake of tragedy.
Students of the future will benefit from these efforts and hopefully, they'll have the chance at the full rewarding life of which Steve was robbed.
The event went beyond the scholarship money though. It was a wonderful opportunity for a family, friends and community to not only support Steve but also each other. It wasn't a solemn occasion. It was a celebration - of Steve's life as well as our own. It was a unification of our loss and sadness. It was also a marshaling of forces for good and right.
We've all suffered loss. Grief isn't a solitary endeavor, at least it shouldn't be. Life is full of hardship and tragedy.
As I've said many times,  our lives can't be defined by our falls, failures and trials. We should be defined by how we rise above those struggles, no matter how tragic and heartbreaking.
I see so many people that have faced some sort of adversity. They've condemned themselves to living in that horrible moment or be forever controlled by that particular struggle.They never get past what happened. They never move on from it. Their lives become defined and dictated by something negative - primarily because they allow it to.
I've also seen people that have risen above. They moved past their adversity. They've used it to motivate them. They've used it to be stronger. They've vowed to learn from the challenges of life and live in the light instead of stuck in the their darkness. From the ashes, a new fire burns and rebuilding begins.

Steve's family was devastated by his loss. I can't imagine what that has been like. Grief is hard enough but when it is as public as something like this, I can't even fathom it. They've endured and persevered with great love, grace and strength.
There can be triumph in tragedy.  And the running of this race every year, allows us to not only continue to grieve but also move forward in a positive way. We honor Steve's memory and his place in all our lives. We join together to support each other and heal as a community. There's a great power in numbers, especially unified for something good.
The acts of 911 were born from hatred and closed minds. And the world is still full of the same kind of evil and divisiveness.  Sunday's race came from love and open hearts. It was a community rallying together.  That is what must carry us all forward amidst the darkness.
My four-year friend doesn't understand all that now. She will someday. Eventually, she'll recall running and she'll realize why and what it was truly all about.
 Life is a long race. We'll all stumble. We'll all fall. We can all get back up again. We can run this race together. We can finish. And we can high five at the end.
"From the pain come the dream. From the dream come the vision. From the vision come the people. From the people come the power. From this power come the change." ... Fourteen Black Paintings, Peter Gabriel

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Making Something Out Of Nothing

We call them Freaks on the Street.
I suppose that is the official newspaper term. It is when the paper collects photos of some poor unsuspecting people and have them comment on whatever mindless question of the day the reporters are forced to ask.
The only time I had to do such a thing was when I was dispatched with a photographer to the Auburn Mall years ago to get a "Freaks on the Street" spread on the hiring of a new UMaine hockey coach.
I searched out anybody that looked like they knew something about hockey or UMaine and asked the question and hoped to get some sort of an intelligent answer. I don't even recall whether I did or not.
The Freaks on the Street spread I saw recently was about school budgets. The question posed was whether these people had voted. The answers were a bit discouraging.
One guy said he had not voted because "they're all full of bull". I don't know who the "they" were and I don't know what that had to do whether he voted or not.
Another person said they had intended to vote but had not gotten around to it. Well, at least they intended to do their civic duty. That counts right?
Another person, and there were only five or six, said something disparaging as well as to why they had not bothered to vote.
Now I know school budgets and the items that have been up for vote in recent weeks aren't the presidential election and don't have high-profile status of some major election, but don't these votes have an even greater impact on these people's lives at the local level?
I know a lot of people who are effected by these budgets. I know school administrators, teachers, students and coaches. All of them have a stake in the outcome. Parents and taxpayers are effected as well.
Yet people can't be civic minded enough to vote for something that impacts their own community and likely people they know.
It's kind of like the old saying "People complain about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
We've become a world of bitching and moaning. It's easier to lay blame than take responsibility. Why try and change things when standing idly by and griping about it does so well - not.
I see it in our politics. I see it in the workplace. I see it regardless of where I go each day. People can always talk about what is wrong about something and who is to blame. Yet they offer few solutions or suggestions as to who might make such change. And they're certainly not stepping up to volunteer.
We've let the zealots take over society. We have the right wing, Bible thumpers and left leaning tree huggers. That's how they're stereotyped and everything falls into one camp or the other. We've become polarized by these two ends of the spectrum, where the other is to blame and nobody takes responsibility. It has trickled down from the politics of our highest office to our everyday conversations,  where if you don't agree with me, you're wrong and also an idiot.
We're dividing ourselves because of our disagreements. We stand upon our soapboxes and tout our respective ideology while demonizing anyone that disagrees. Meanwhile, what is truly important and what is right gets lost in all the white noise and posturing.
Where is our common ground? Where is our commitment to do what is right? Where is our determination to make a stand? Why do we let our laziness dictate instead of allowing our knowledge to empower?
It is easy to wash our hands of the frustrating discourse. It is tempting to toss up our hands in despair and assume there's little we can do about it. I'm a political junkie of sorts and even I'm tired of it all.
 Public service isn't serving the public. As a result, our commitment to civic duties suffer. It is easiest to just ignore and do nothing and hope it goes away. Or we assume nothing can be done. We're let to just bitch and moan and blame.  We've become too tolerant of our intolerance.
There is always something that can be done. Maybe it starts with something as simple as utilizing your right to vote. Maybe it is change an attitude from powerless to powerful.
We the people have a power. With that power can come the change. But nothing changes when all we do is complain and blame.Surrendering your power only leaves one weak.  Inaction doesn't lead to action. People need to realize that to make change around us, we must make change within us. When that is realized, maybe they do something instead of doing nothing.