Cheaply Made Good

Cheaply Made Good

Talk, that is. I heard that phrase a lot growing up. It’s one of the reasons why I began living by the belief that a person’s word was the most important thing about them. If you gave your word, you followed through on it, because it was the most valuable possession you had.
I don’t get to act on my wishes as much as I would like. If I had my druthers, I would feed hungry men, women, and children the world over. Heal the sick, clothe the naked, uplift the poor in spirit, all of those things Jesus talked about, and lots of other people talk about, but not nearly enough engage in making happen.
I’m already busy trying to heal, and uplift. I use what little money I have to feed as many, clothe as many as I can, but the need is so tremendous, that it feels like a drop in the bucket. As a result, I feel inadequate to accomplish the task, though it doesn’t mean I would ever stop trying.
So all I truly have are my words: my ill fitting, clumsily written words. I love people, all people. All ages, all types, all lives. A stranger is just a friend I haven’t been introduced to yet. Compassion for all, love for all, kindness for all. I tend to rush in where angels fear to tread, because if even angels won’t help those they are sworn to protect, then someone must be willing to go there, and I am that someone. I will not leave a lonely cry alone.
Do people understand this? I know some do but, in general, I feel more and more ill-at-ease with the society in which I am living day to day. Maybe it has always been this way, and I’m only now realizing it. Perhaps my inner peace has been shattered by all I have seen, and continue to see. It could be both. It is likely both, in all honesty.
I feel so helpless, and I hate this feeling. Something Jesus was once purported to have said still sticks with me, though likely in a way differently than he intended: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”
I don’t care for the theological concept of the soul, I speak in the metaphorical sense. I speak in the sense that asks why we exploit men, women, and children all around the world just to surround ourselves with the fruits of their labors, and then shut out all their cries as not our problem?
In the United States, we build our society on their blood, sweat and tears. Then we presume to call ourselves a shining city on a hill, and a lamp unto the feet of the world. We dare to say we are a civilized nation, a bastion of opportunity and equality, where dreams can come true. What dream is worth living if it engenders the creation of a million cold and hungry nightmares for others?
Our talk is cheap. We have made life cheap. We have sold it off, commodified it, used it to hawk our cheaply made wares that were manufactured in facilities that starved and beat the innocent. Are their lives so worthless that we sacrifice them in order to purchase a trinket we will throw out when it breaks after a few months?
The more I learn, the more horrified I become. At times it becomes almost unbearable to witness, but I keep my eyes open, because someone *has* to keep their eyes open. They must see all of these terrible things, so that they can try to stop it. Again, in my case it’s by my words, my inadequate, clumsily expressed words. Those stilted sentences that stumble out of my brain and onto the page.
I feel like a hypocrite, because I, too, have benefited from these things. Even my own words feel cheap. It doesn’t matter that my heart aches, my mind burns, because all I can offer are words. Cheaply made words, freely distributed to all who wish to have them.
I do not have a solution. Wait, let me try that again: I do have a solution, but the solution requires the complete overhaul of how humanity has worked these past several thousand years. There are pockets of civilization who have made these solutions work, but they are insignificant when compared to the nations that profit from these things, whether it be financially, or politically.
There is more money to be made, more influence to be gained, by turning one’s eyes away from what is happening under our very noses. We have all benefited, and we all must work to change it. Where to begin, though? Where do we begin, because we have to offer more than just our cheap words. We must do more.
I must do more.

2 thoughts on “Cheaply Made Good

  1. Some people don’t want to hear anyone say they want to help others because It’s not something they themselves do, and instead of thinking “Perhaps I should change my behaviour” they become defensive and think “Bloody do-gooders”. It takes less effort.

    1. If I have learned anything over my lifetime, and I have, it is that humans love to take the path of least resistance, in the most convenient way possible. A passerby may happen upon a hungry, homeless man on the corner. They could offer him some money so he can have a nice, hot meal, but often they will simply reason that he’ll probably just buy liquor and get drunk with any donation they hand him. So it’s best to do nothing, because it’s *his* fault.
      So later, when he’s arrested and thrown in jail for trying to steal food in order to stave off his hunger, people will shake their heads in wonder at just what would cause a man to do such a thing. It never occurs to them that they are part of the problem.
      Our society continues to navel gaze, to seek its own pleasures at the cost of so many others, and then wonder why there is so much suffering in the world, as if all of these wonderful and amazing innovations come from thin air, that the work and the materials just appear from nothing, a cosmic free energy machine given solely to those who deserve it (because if poor people deserved it, they would have it).
      So it’s easier not to think about it. Easier to pretend everything is just fine, and any aberration from that line of thinking is some kind of ulterior motive to upset the perfectly balanced playing field.

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