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We All Matter: A Moment with Bill Reflection
Good Day, Sunshine
“We take a walk, the sun is shining down
Burns my feet as they touch the ground.” The Beatles “Good Day Sunshine.”
And as the sun shines down upon Olympia, Washington, I go outside and pick up the newspaper from the lawn, bring it back inside, and sit down with my mocha to read the latest world, national and local news.
A suicide bomber in France….twelve dead.
A gang war in Mexico….fifty-three dead.
A deranged husband in Topeka kills wife, three children and himself.
A soldier kills himself.
A tornado in Austin….fifteen dead.
A flood in West Virginia….eight dead, fourteen missing.
A landslide in Washington….no deaths but seventy-one injured.
A forest fire in California….
Death and destruction, a way of life, and what an ironic statement that is, but it’s true, and we take it all in, and then we go about the business of living and forget about it all until the next influx of news attacks our senses for the five minutes that we give it.
In truth we’ve become de-sensitized, and that’s all about self-preservation, because most of us have just seen too much misery, too much pain, too many shattered lives and we just can’t handle any more of it…so we put on the blinders and we stare straight ahead, and if ugliness comes into our field of vision we’ll detour, detour, detour, until the ugliness fades in the rearview mirror and there are clear roads ahead.
But we all matter!
A Moment in History
The American Civil War, four years when modern technology and modern weaponry met antiquated military strategies, and death and destruction rained down upon a nation.
Horror was redefined during those four years. Savagery became second-nature. Two armies would meet by chance at a crossroads, and three days later twenty-thousand bodies lay along the roadside, flies feasting on the fluids, the smell of death mixing with the wind and blowing across the land.
Despite the seeming desire to eliminate all human life forms during that war, there were some touching moments of humanity that served as a reminder that we all matter. Two armies would call a halt to the fighting as the sun set, and then the business of tending to the wounded would carry on into the night. A truce of sorts would be arranged, allowing each army to send men out to the fields to retrieve the bodies, and those bodies would be shipped back from where they originated, to the farms of Pennsylvania and the mills of Savannah, the cabins of Kentucky and the gateway cities of the west, for families awaited their sons, and final resting places awaited the fallen soldiers, and the armies understood the importance of this gathering of bodies and the returning of them because, after all,
We all matter.
To the Present
And I take a walk, and the sun is shining down, and I pass a vet on the side of the street, hungry his sign says, will work for food his sign says, family in need of shelter his sign says, and my steps slow, and I turn my head in his direction, our eyes meet, the eyes of two human beings, two separate paths brought together by chance, and I smile at him, the making of a connection, a connection that says I understand, I feel, I am sorrowful and I will not ignore you, because…..
We all matter.
And my walk continues and I come to an assisted living home, and outside, in the courtyard, I see residents sitting in the shade, some covered with shawls, staring off in the distance, watching a silent film only they can see, a film filled with memories of better times, independent times, a film with former lovers and family members as the main actors.
Many have tears in their eyes. Some have blank looks, confused, sullen, lonely looks, aware that life has been stolen from them, and I can relate, for I, too, see the calendar pages moving much too quickly, and I know my steps are shorter and slower, and one day I could be sitting in their place, watching the silent film, hoping that someone will pass by and realize that….
We all matter.
And on I Go
And I come to a young woman, bruises on her face, deep wounds to her psyche, emotionally scarred as only the abused can be, stripped clean of self-respect and simply looking for one night of safety, one night of no beatings, one night of being treated as more than a whipping post, and her eyes plead with me but no sound comes from her lips, and there but for the grace of God go all of us.
And I want to embrace her, tell her I’m sorry for her pain, show her that there is one goddamned human being who sees her, cares for her, loves her….but of course I don’t, for that would be inappropriate, and probably misunderstood, but wouldn’t it be wonderful, wouldn’t it be the cat’s meow, if we could do that, if we could reach out our loving arms and encircle those who desperately need to know that….
We all matter.
I Am Only One Man
Oh how many times have I heard those words? What can I do? I’m only one man? There is so much misery, and I am but a drop in the human pool, a mere speck of existence, and I can’t make an impact worth noting.
But those who say that are wrong.
Every single one of you reading these words can make a difference.
Every single one of you has it in your power to change a life.
Which leads us to the million dollar question: will you do it?
Will you reach out and show others that they have worth?
Will you stand tall for those who are infirmed, and give a shoulder to lean on for those incapable?
Will you listen to the voice inside of you and answer your higher calling? You know I speak the truth. You know my words are true.
We all matter!
And to not acknowledge that fact, and to not act on it, is beneath us as human beings.
We all matter!
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)