It seems that more than ever before we are being influenced to, look out for #1. We hear it in many forms: If I don’t look after myself, no one else will. I deserve it! It’s all about me! You’ll hear variations of this message in many advertisements and there is some truth to it, but I believe this message is missing the mark. Although we need to take care of ourselves, and we do in many ways, (food, shelter, clothing, exercise, friendships, love) I wonder whether the focus is better put onto others as opposed to myself. If I’m #1 and it’s all about me than why would I stop what I am doing, why would I be late for an appointment or why would I give up time or money just to help someone in need?
We’ve heard the “Golden Rule?” Love thy neighbour as thyself. This is a simple rule. I will treat others the way I would like to be treated. But, what does this really look like? Well, if we want to understand how to love your neighbour we only need to ask ourselves, how do I love myself? Every day we eat, get dressed, probably spend a few moments enjoying ourselves with loved ones and then sleep comfortably at home. That seems fairly basic. Are there those who don’t experience these basics?
In the 1970s Canada admitted almost 56,000 Vietnamese refugees. In the late 1700s through the 1800s tens of thousands of Mennonite refugees came largely from the USSR and settled all across Canada. Among these Mennonite refugees were some of my ancestors. Today in Canada there are almost 200,000 Mennonite people. Vietnamese, Mennonites and many, more nationalities have come to Canada in search of the basic necessities of life. All of these people have also long since been known as Canadians. There has been much media regarding the horrible situation in Syria and countries such as ours is responding with practical help to suffering people. I wonder, what can I do? There are opportunities for anyone, from giving financially, or your time or of your talent, there is a place for you to help. If you were stuck in a country where you were being tormented, starved & beaten down, how would you want someone to treat you?
And then there is our own country, Province and Village. Do you know those who don’t enjoy the necessities of life here? Are there those who will not have a gift or a Christmas tree? Will they enjoy a turkey dinner like you and I? Ask yourself, if I was in their shoes, (if they have a pair to wear) how would I like to be treated? Well I know that answer, but what can I really do? As a kid, we always spent Christmas Eve at my Uncle and Aunt’s home in Ft. St. James and every year without fail, there would be a random guest at the dinner table & joining in on the Christmas family fun. Often the guest did not smell or look like the rest of us, but he/she was always welcome. I don’t know how my Uncle knew these people but he did and he responded to whatever needs they had, whether it was a meal or helping fix their vehicle. Last Christmas my family and I joined in with the Equality Project and we were overjoyed to provide hot Christmas meals and bags of gifts to many needy people in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek communities. Not only was it a joy to give, but even better were the looks on their faces when they realized there is someone who cares. You could give a helping hand, a plate of food, wrap up a gift, (a new gift, not something you don’t want) or just sit and visit. These are all things that I would appreciate if it was me.
In a world of abundance & poverty, we all have a role to pay. If I want wellness, I need to practice the Golden Rule. There are lots of opportunities to love thy neighbour as thyself, you’ll just have to keep your eyes open and then answer the question: Will I love my neighbour as myself?
Note: If you would like to be involved with The Equality Project please contact 250-457-6485 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their facebook page-The Equality Project