Where There’s a Need, There’s a Way

Those of you who are kind enough to follow along here know that just before Christmas I learned of a dear friend who had emergency surgery in early December to remove a brain tumor.

It’s been 18 months since I last saw her, and a good six months or more until I get another chance. She doesn’t know it (yet), but it was something she said during a relaxed conversation we had before I headed to the Netherlands almost three years ago that put me on the path to writing.

I will remedy the fact that she isn’t even aware of her role in what has become an extremely important part of my life, but in the meantime I’ve been giving great thought to a whole range of issues.

The latest is that she is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, and is already gearing up for a very comprehensive medical treatment approach, including radiation and chemotherapy.

At this point she is hoping to be accepted into a specialized drug trial in which she’d take the latest in cutting edge pharmaceuticals focusing on this form of cancer. The drug isn’t fully approved for widespread use yet, and at this time is only available in one hospital in the US.

It’s what she wants, so I’m praying she gets in.

I do not tell you this for sympathy or pity, because she wants neither. And if she’s not having any of that, then I certainly won’t, either.

One of the mantras that has been kicking around in the social conscious for several years now is ‘live in the moment’. Essentially, it means to be fully present and aware of each and every thing you do and experience.

It means giving your total attention to the moment at hand, rather than rushing through the day at breakneck speed, as many of us are wont to do. I’d have to say, guilty as charged.

It also means making the most of each moment, by consciously choosing what you will (and won’t) do rather than flittering away the time doing piddly little mindless things or – even worse – nothing. Again, I’ll have to plead guilty.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been in touch with other friends and acquaintances, and have found that some of them are hurting in their own way. They or a loved one has lost their job, or had an accident, or have family members suffering from various maladies. Still others are lonely: for love, companionship, friendship, family.

The needs in this world are great. So many are suffering, wanting, hoping.

Broaden the circle and the needs grow. People are starving, going without health care, scrimping to put food on the table or pay utility bills.

Beyond borders and behind enemy lines, many suffer from violence, hunger, oppression. We live in a world where so many go to bed hungry at night, where young girls and boys are forced into employment, servitude or slavery rather than being allowed to get the basic education that would help bring change and improvement to their family, community, society, country.

There is so much need in this world, and in our own little worlds. One of my resolutions, not merely for the new year but hopefully for life, is to live more fully in the moment. Each and every moment.

I know it isn’t possible to do so, but we can make an effort to be more fully present.

Because if we do so, I know that we will truly ‘see’ the needs around us, and not see past them. I happen to believe that there is much we can do to help, individually and collectively.

So here’s to living as fully in each moment as possible, to seeing the needs and to taking action to help address those that we can through our words and deeds.




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