By Lana M.
Someone shared a video on FB recently that was shocking. It was a 10 min video that showed a young boy of about 10 years old, trying to shield himself from the cold in New York, wearing very light clothing and holding a garbage bag. By the end of the video he had placed himself inside the bag and was curled up on the concrete footpath, shivering uncontrollably, and people just kept walking past him, ignoring what was happening. I had trouble getting to sleep after watching the video. It was really disturbing to me that people would not stop and ask the child if he was OK and needed help. The video was already 6 months old and took place in NY city, leaving me feel helpless to do anything — but still I wondered, why did someone video this kid and not give him a hand. They were more interested in capturing it on tape and posting it to social media that actually doing something. Just seemed completely unreal to me.
Then I was reading a local article called it’s time we had that talk and that discusses the same situation, on a broader scale. It talks about Australians doing little to nothing about major situations that are, or will have, negative impact on local life in times ahead, but they are not even discussed or talked about. I know that Australia is not alone in experiencing the phenomena of people non-confronting or blatantly ignoring situations around them. It is a planet-wide issue.
Some 20 years ago, when I was living in the USA, I found that I started to become numb to social situations that were just wrong. I remember walking down Hollywood Blvd one Sunday morning, in the early 90’s, and a youth was lying unconscious/sleeping (or dead) across the pavement, half undressed. I, along with others, walked around the body, not sure what to do, so did nothing. I am ashamed that I had become so insensitive and irresponsible to those around me. At the time I remember hoping that no one saw me there, on that street, walking past this person.
Coming forward to PT, I was recently travelling in Sydney and there was a homeless man sitting cross-legged on the pavement holding a hand-scrawled cardboard sign asking for money to buy food. I stopped and gave him five dollars and then continued on to catch my plane, but I wondered why someone who lives in Sydney could not stop and offer a hand/place to sleep/job. In only a matter of 30 minutes there would have been more than 100 people who would have seen him, read his sign, and walked on.
I will see a person walking along a rural road, and I will stop and ask if they need any help. Maybe they ran out of gas, or their car broke down? Heck, if I was in that circumstance I would hope that someone would stop for me. Maybe I am unusual in this way, but I find that by reaching out and at least asking if there is something I can do, minimally brightens someone’s day.
There are many things in this world that should not be. Poverty, injustice, war and natural disasters are just a few of them. I know that with my own two hands I cannot deal with all of them — particularly on such a vast planet and with such massive numbers who are impacted — but I realised that I can DO something about each one that crosses my own path, or any that come within my immediate sphere of influence. A local child who is autistic, I can help. A child who is illiterate, I can help. A lonely elderly women, I can help. Conflict and upset within the local community, I can do something about. Local disasters or fires, I am trained to assist. I can support local charities. I provide all second-hand clothes to the local organisations that provide to those who are in need. And I work in an organization that helps people across the nation when they are injured, sick, vulnerable or in pain.
Wouldn’t it be great if each person, everywhere, decided to just do something to help improve conditions in their immediate sphere? To step outside their comfort zone, and help a stranger? To ask someone if they need help, and then provide it? To reach out to someone who is past reaching and has sunken into despair, and assist them to regain their feet?
As Scientologists we can help ourselves, but even more importantly, we can help others.
We can bring people to a point of cause, in some small way, which enables them to get a foothold and continue to climb.
I think it is really important we don’t forget that, after all, that is what LRH did for us.
Do you agree?