Make America Empathetic Again

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Situations like this always remind me of Cadbury Eggs.

I love chocolate, candy, sweets in general, but the Cadbury Egg has always held a special place in my heart.  For a long time, I was convinced that it was just the overwhelming deliciousness of ‘The Egg’ (as it will be referred to moving forward) that made me love it as much as I do.  But in the recent past, I’ve discovered that’s not it – it’s the fact that I only have a certain amount of time each year to enjoy The Egg.  The fact that this treat is only available for a small portion of the spring is what makes it such an extra special delicacy.  Put into one word, scarcity is on what this love is based.

Scarcity has a crazy effect on people.  It will do everything from making a person eat thirty goo-filled chocolate eggs in a few weeks to convincing an entire country that a thirty foot wall is needed for the stretch of a few thousand miles.  In our internet-driven, social media filled world, it is difficult to see some that have so much and feel we don’t have enough.  We need more of whatever it is we feel we don’t have, and we certainly don’t want some person that isn’t a citizen taking part of our share.

It’s an easy sell, isn’t it?   Here is what is missing from your life and here are the people you don’t know who are to blame. And that is where it gets really messy…a feeling of scarcity plus a sense of separation leading to a new found lack of empathy.

I remember growing up in our small subdivision, my nine-year-old brother’s best friend dying of cystic fibrosis.  We went to visit him in his home two days before he passed away.  I will always remember sitting in his family room, on the sofa, next to him.  He and my brother laughing, neither of us realizing that we would be at Charlie’s funeral the following week.

And then today, reading a politician’s quote regarding our proposed new health care system, ““It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy,” said Brooks. “And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

Blaming costs of healthcare on people we don’t know who haven’t lived the right way.

Instilling a sense of scarcity and separation. I can just see someone yelling at the TV, “Right!  I take care of myself!  I’m not paying for these people that smoke and do drugs and put themselves in situations where they are going to be the victims of sexual assault.”

He didn’t have a Charlie.

Charlie was born with Cystic Fibrosis, lived a joy-filled childhood and died when he was ten.

He didn’t know people like Charlie’s parents, who loved everyone, cared for everyone, and despite enormous pain. One thing I didn’t mention?  Charlie had five siblings, two others also died of cystic fibrosis.

This dear family is just one example.  One example of millions who lived “good lives” (like any of us are qualified to judge this) who became sick or were born with sickness.  And those who feel they shouldn’t have to/don’t want to contribute to a system that helps everyone lead a healthy life.

A sense of scarcity = a lack of empathy.

But here is the good news, folks.

We have created the idea of scarcity.

There is as much as we want there to be.  There is enough to go around for everyone.

I know there is hardship.  I know there are feelings of others having more, of some not having enough.  And we are shown daily just how much by the media and the internet.  And there are some who no matter what, will most likely always feel the scarcity and enjoy magnifying it for others.  (Insert Joe Walsh, R-Illinois: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care. “)

But I bet Mr. Walsh didn’t have the pleasure of knowing a Charlie.

He didn’t know the love that family gave, the love they received from the community around them when Charlie was dying.  It was a beautiful, big love.  I would love everyone to be able to know that kind of love.

If they did, our country wouldn’t be having these arguments.

Because when you live in a community, a state, a nation that takes care of each other, then there is enough.

I give some to you, it opens the space for more, then fills back in.

So now when Easter season rolls around, I buy one 4-pack of The Eggs and really savor them instead of loading up my Target cart to the brim. And I buy some to give away.  And you know what?  It’s more fun to give them away.  And I save a ton of money.  And I don’t feel nauseous the entire month of April.

So what do we do?  We move forward.  We don’t listen to those who want to make us believe there isn’t enough.  That we aren’t all in this together.  We lock arms, we love each other, and we give all we can.  Because when you are busy giving, you aren’t worried with what you have.  But I promise you’ll find, there will always be enough.

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