Withering Plant: The World Through A Humanitarian's Eyes

Withering plant, c'est moi. It is a blessing to be the humanitarian always dreaming of traveling the world and progressing world peace but it comes at a price when I feel trapped in a dying society. Are ya' with me? All you international geeks who stalk the Washington Post and wish your friends knew where Syria is, whether Putin is the good or bad guy, and what the heck Palestine is. But let's face it, even us international geeks fear addressing the latter.

C'est moi -- It is me.

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But that is what us passionate people long for. To be engaged in topics beyond the latest fingerprint-reading iPhone, which celebrity just went to jail, or juicy dating gossip. We are disinterested in the millennial trends of bubble necklaces, crop-tops, or the infamous: #selfie, #MCM, #WCW, #TBT, #SS, #Hashtag.

#ShutUp #ICantEven #SorryImNotSorry

Phew. I need a breather.

This generation is withering away.

I too am withering away because this culture drains me. How can I go about my days feeling inspired in a place that lacks perspective? Right now I am serving as a coordinator for a brand new charity called Childero. We are building a foundation that financially supports orphans in Uganda. Dero in the local language means light, so the organization's mash-up name signifies Child of Light.

As we diligently build this organization, I often feel like a withering plant. I work two jobs throughout the week and I find myself drained of joy because being a waitress just isn't my dream job when I'm longing to be in Uganda with the kids. And working 40 hours a week on top of  my other commitments leaves me exhausted. Moreover, living in this society that focuses on making sure the memory is documented online before it is ever lived out in real life, I mean ... That is just stupid. I refuse to bond myself with such short failings in life.

Q: So how do I replenish my joy? How do I maintain a respiratory inspiration?

A: I look for people in need right here.

I am a huge advocate that age, place, and resources mean nothing. Last week I taught the youth group students at my church. We discussed the idea of "missions" and service trips. I told them that you don't have to buy a $4,000 plane ticket to Africa to change the world. You don't have to be 35 years old to finally be qualified enough to make a difference. And surely you don't need an entire soccer program or soup kitchen full of resources to create the only way to a lasting impact.

NO. It is here and now, as we are. You can make a difference for one person if you just look around you.

I too fall short. One morning at the restaurant the entire staff was plagued by poor attitudes. No one had anything nice to say that day and the complaints were relentless. I usually feel immune to such attitudes but by the end of my shift I found myself guilty.

My shift was nearly over but the manager sat one of my tables and I was forced to stay. I slumped myself over to the table half-heartedly greeting the elderly woman who sat alone. She mumbled something back to me with her head down and I about lost all of my patience because mumbling customers get under my skin. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" I yelled at her inside of my sound-proof imagination. She continued to look down and mumble to herself so I proceeded with my duties, "What would you like to drink?" I asked. She responded by murmuring something about needing alcohol and hinted towards serious alcoholic habits.

My entire soul froze. My anger evaporated and I realized that this woman just needed someone to talk to.

"Ma'am, are you okay? Is your day going all right?" I was completely invested in this woman. I peered past her eyes into her soul and made sure she knew I was here to listen.

She began to tell me a story: Her life was a mess, she was depressed, her husband was a jerk, and she said, "I just want to leave this world." With that, I broke past any boundaries that my job, the booth, or being strangers posed and I pulled her into my arms. We embraced and she fumbled over her words. I just told her that her day was going to get better.

I took her order and we continued about our business but before she left I encouraged her. She was truly grateful. The foxy lady even put on a fresh coat of lip gloss before heading out to face the world again.

That one conversation may have prevented her from taking her life that night. The encounter gave both of us inspiration. An everyday conversation CAN change the world.

We don't have to be world class humanitarians working overseas to make an impact. Inspiration cycles through willing people who go about their normal days seeking for opportunities to care for someone even on your worst of days.

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Who is that for you -- how can you Live It Everyday?

The sluggish cashier at your favorite fast-food station?

Your mom, who you maybe haven't said "I love you" to in a while?

Your boss, who never has anyone to praise or encourage him/her?

The grumpy old lady fumbling through her coin purse who may just need a word of kindness?

Open your eyes. Look around you. We all feel like withering plants from time to time but I promise joy will replenish you the more that you seek to replenish others.

Until next time, Cara Hope Starns

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