I stopped by Pho Quong for pho, as my wife's arrival home awaits her completion of attendance at a club function. The pho place on Jupiter Road sports the current issue of "Urban Animal" magazine. "Urban Animal" provides the best kind of throwaway magazine newsfare. It's devoted entirely to animal adoption, and saving pets from abuse.
I like the pictures of 6 lb. fellows named things like "Sparky" who are "adorable lap dogs" and "very sweet". I like the pictures of large, mastiff-size fellows named Duke, who have "special needs". I know that the people who advertise dogs
intend to keep them alive, even if their "forever home" goes unbuilt.
I'll grant you that stories of bunny rescue provide me with a few mildly untoward details I might conveniently have omitted were I plotting my life's narrative. Still, the hearts involved are pure and good, and compassionate and politely but firmly angry. I admire such people.
I am, as any assiduous reader will know, less skilled at doing than at wishing I did. I am not only never a borrower and rarely a lender, but I am also not a spectactular joiner, a remarkable altruist, nor a workmanlike saint. I am instead guilty of the flaws customary to similarly-situated fellows, and desperately guilty of an overwhelming complacency.
Yet my focus tonight rests appropriately on the people who nurture and help. Our local food bank put out a call for
food because their resources have been expended in a year which brought a number of new arrivals who for reasons not within their own making, need a bit of extra help. This weekend I will see what I can do to do my shopping part. The local native plant center fund-raises through a native plant sale, which helps avoid undue water use in a time of drought. A local dentist from my Sunday school class heads to Central America, where he regularly provides care to people who could never afford him. He takes with him educational materials and other material help with other challenges the community faces.
I am all for "points of light", for people who quilt together the spare threads of society, and for the inescapable knitness of everything. I salute people who are prisoners of their consciences, prisoners of love, and prisoners of the social good.
I am not sure that this time is really all that different from another time. But I know that this time offers a tremendous chance for isolation, self-immolation, and for self-abasement in the name of self-gratification. But I think it also offers the chance for connection, and the chance to find unlooked-for kindred spirits.
These reflections and ideas don't make me a better person, but perhaps they let me figure out where, so to speak, to start. Threads, needles, mixing paint, interlocking Lego bricks. A coming together. A building. Pet homes. A helping hand. Perhaps two.