Reading this blog, I realized that I had missed something very important. Certainly, the path I'm following with regard to healing, forgiving and understanding why my parents chose to leave as they did is important, but I totally missed the opportunity to continue their legacy.
My mom was always active in the community, working charity events for cancer research and heaven only knows what else. Formally, dad was a Big Brother at one time, but informally, he was a man who was a good friend, and who the kids were comfortable hanging around. He gave everyone a chance, even those who others might think didn't deserve one. So the question I ask myself now is "aren't these qualities which should be carried forward?"
Most of us don't come from families who leave blazing marks upon the world. We're just ordinary people living what looks on the surface like ordinary lives. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll likely find something extraordinary which was performed quietly and without fanfare. If you asked a member of that family about it, they'd chalk it up to being the right thing to do.
It is just those seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things because it's the right thing to do which makes the world an extraordinary place. People who look out for others or champion a cause with no thought of thanks or recognition. Whether it's the teacher or coach who spends that little bit of extra time with a child who is struggling, a parent who starts a program for local youth, someone who gives blood regularly...they do it for the sake of helping, and for no other reason.
John Ritter died the same day as my dad. His passing was written up in newspapers and magazines all over the world, counting and recounting all of his accomplishments. My dad touched a lot of lives, but there was no such recounting. But the truth is, he wouldn't have wanted or needed such public praise. He didn't seek accolades for reaching out to someone in need. In fact, it would probably have embarrassed him to have someone take notice!
As individuals, we make our contributions in our own way, some in the public eye, and some as far away from it as they can get. But does it really matter how or why we do what we do? And more important, are those who make their contributions outside of the limelight any less worthy of having someone continue their cause? We may have to dig a little deeper to determine what was important to them in their lives in order to carry it forward, but regardless of what we find fulfilled them, it is, surely, our responsibility to see that what was important to them is kept alive and supported.
Now, it might appear that I mean that we should locate and support the exact same causes which were important to our deceased loved ones, but that is not the case at all. What I'm driving at is that those who have gone before us set a standard for caring and for social consciousness. That is the legacy which we need to continue.
Mom's cause might have been cancer research while mine might involve animals or children. They're all worthy and valuable causes which always need volunteers, donations, supporters. It's just about spending a little less of our time and hard earned money on ourselves and sharing a little with causes we feel strongly about. I also believe that turning our positive energy towards something we find important allows it to gather strength and the attention it needs to gain support from others who might not otherwise find them.
Heaven knows, none of us can save the world single handedly, no matter how much money or time we might have. But every dollar and every minute of our time and every moment's thought we offer to one of the many worthy causes WILL save the world, will make it a better place and will cure diseases, end abuse and prevent euthanasia. Every time we help spread the word of an organization in need, we help to make the world a better place!
We, the bloggers, have our own purposes, our own obligations to fulfill, and our own forums upon which to help instigate those positive changes!
I recently offered my writing skills to an organization I feel strongly about. Although they were interested in accepting my offer, I'm just too far away, geographically, and they're way too busy trying to keep up with their current volume to get me enough information to really help them right now. But what I can do is mention them here as often as possible and share whatever they're doing to raise funds and awareness.
The group is Cat House on the Kings. They rescue cats and a few dogs, provide fostering, medical care a 12 acre facility and a partnership with Petco in Fresno to rescue, trap, neuter and return (TNR), hold adoptions and just let many cats live out their lives in a safe environment. In some cases, they go to extraordinary lengths to save a cat. They recently paid for hernia surgery for a 2 week old kitten who is now doing extremely well! They spend more on just medical care than most facilities spend on just maintenance because they feel so strongly about helping anyone they can. When I toured their facility in May, I learned that they have a special section just for senior cats and those who have some kind of medical issue. They have another one just for FLV+ cats so they can live out their lives instead of being euthanized for fear of infecting other cats.
I'm not currently in a position to be one of their major supporters, financially, but I am in a position to help spread the word about what they do. They offer many opportunities to contribute including a Wish List on Amazon, $5 Fridays and sponsorship of one of their cats for $15 a month. NatGeo Wild aired a show called "The Woman with 700 Cats" but I'm sure they've gone way over that number now. At last count, they'd taken in 586 kittens this year alone! Despite the fact that they hold adoptions 7 days a week, that is still a lot of kittens to find homes for, and that is in addition to the cats and kittens who were already residents! They also rescued a bunch of ferals from Catalina Island who now live in their own area and will likely live out their days at CHOTK because they aren't really people friendly, but prefer hanging out in the trees they learned to love after coming from a treeless environment. I just can't say enough about the wonderful job they're doing, and the heroic efforts they go to to save cats and kittens. Here is their latest fundraising effort if anyone is interested:
If you're looking for someone to help, and you're an animal lover, this is one to consider adding to your list! Thank you so much!!!
This is certainly not my only purpose, but it is surely one of them! I am very proud to be part of this elite group which does its part to make the world a better, safer, cleaner, happier place!
On another topic, I tried to sign up for Google Adsense today. I received a very polite email back which stated that I had not been approved because my website didn't have enough content! Clearly, their little webcrawler was not sufficiently programmed to see the amount of content I produce on a daily basis! What are they looking for? A novel a day??? As they had a place to indicate that you're an individual as opposed to a business, you'd think they had different standards, but I guess not, so Dear Mr. Google, it's your loss!
On the day I publish my first book, I will look back and say that my first rejection came from the Internet giant, Google! Maybe I can get one from Microsoft, Yahoo or Bing to add to my collection? I believe I'll print their email out and let it be the first deposit in my rejection file. Let the party begin!
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have created a forum where I can do my part to help make the world a little better.
2. I am grateful for reminders that I truly have found a few of my purposes, and that I definitely have more than one!
3. I am grateful for organizations which create havens for children, women and animals or support health related issues and allow the rest of us to contribute, if just in a small way.
4. I am grateful to other bloggers for opening my eyes to things I might not see if left to my own devices.
5. I am grateful to Google for giving me my first rejection which was more amusing than painful.
Love and light