Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Paying It Forward

I saw something this morning that started me to thinking. A friend of mine posted a note about 'paying it forward.' This is a slogan that has become very popular in recent years. The gist of its meaning is that we should all do a good deed for someone now and then. Spreading kindness reaps kindness. Good karma is something that we can all do with an abundance of in this day and age. So many terrible things are going on in the world and honestly there are times when it all gets very depressing; some days you just don't want to get out of bed. Unfortunately, not many of us have the luxury of staying under the covers when the world gets looking too dark. There are things to be done and places to be and responsibilities that have to be taken care of. Paying it forward doesn't always seem to be the handiest thing, does it?
Life is uncertain for so many. The country remains in an unstable state. Despite all the promising moves that President Obama has made, people aren't yet ready to embrace the future. The economy looks like it's slowly beginning to recover but it will be a long time before we find things in the shape they were a few years ago. Too much has happened to dampen the confidence of the American people in recent years and this has spilled over to the rest of the world. The global climate scares me and I am not alone in this fear. Who knows where it will lead or how long we'll have to endure these unsteady times. We can only have faith that we'll make it through.
This is where I see the adage of paying it forward coming into play. It surely is a good idea. If we begin to do things for others like what we would like to have done for us, then the rewards for it might be much more than we expect. I am beginning to believe that this is what is slowly happening. Seeing President Obama reach out to nations like Cuba was a complete surprise to me, and I must admit that I had mixed feelings about it, but trying to build a better relationship with nations that we have had a long and rocky history with cannot possibly be a bad thing. We don't have to embrace the way some other countries live but we can show them that we respect their right to live as they choose. All we ask in return is the same courtesy.
It's happening here at home too. More and more states are beginning to recognize the illegality and the discrimination present in denying gay couples the right to marry. The law is being interpreted the way it was written and individual rights are coming to the forefront for the first time in the history of the United States. As states grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, they are recognizing them as equal citizens with the same rights as anyone else. Why are we one of the last countries to see this? Other nations already make provisions for same sex couples; whether through marriage or civil unions. It all boils down to the fact that you just can't ignore civil rights.
A lot of the people I know think that I look at the world through rose colored glasses. I don't at all. I know exactly what the world is and I don't really like it. I don't see it through rose colored glasses; I want the world to be rose colored! Paying it forward adds to the tint I'd like to see. We need to get back to the basics of being human. Respecting one another is the easiest and yet the single most important thing we can do to start making our world a better place.
Nobody is perfect and we all fall way short of our potential. Yet this isn't about perfection. It's about striving together to make things better for all of us. It's about seeing that people can have life according to their own values without infringing on each other. It's about making little contributions to the world that will add up to a big deposit in the karma account. It's about paying it forward.
I've always been a giver. I don't know why because there haven't been a lot of people in my life who gave to me. So many times I've felt like the world stopped turning and the sun froze in the sky and I just couldn't understand why everybody else wasn't falling over paralyzed like I was. These were the low points in my life. The times when I'd been hurt by others; often those I had done a lot for and thought cared about me the same way I cared about them. It hurt to find out that they didn't but I always survived and I always kept right on giving. I think this has made me a stronger person and I also hope that through my example I have made a difference.
The future is upon us. We cannot escape it and we cannot pretend that things aren't changing. Our job is to make the world a better place. For ourselves and for each other and for the generations that will follow us. Paying it forward now is the only way to accomplish this feat and I for one am ready to start doing my part. I want to have an impact on my world. We all do. Deep down, we all want to make our mark. Now is the time to do it. It's got to be a postive mark we make too.
And this is my sole focus for now.


Blogger Christopher Pimental said...

So much to comment on, here. So much. So much.

The thing that most strikes me is this: that gay marriage will become legal in many states (if not all of them), seems to be a given, sooner or later. While I am supportive of anyone's right to choose how they want to live and love, I have yet to comprehend the philosophy of HATRED and REVERSE bigotry being used as a tool to force feed the cause upion folks who disagree or are not ready to grasp it. Not everyone agrees or is open yet to the idea of gay marriage and attacking them, as some better known folks are doing these days, does not seem productive, fair or quite frankly, honest. In fact, it seems downright hypocritical.

Confronting discrimination with discrimination only breeds continued hate and contempt and lowers the value of any cause. Bigotry and hatred in all its forms is wrong, even (and especially) when practiced by those who have been or are being discriminated against.

Again, Carey, your simple, intellectual and straight-talking way of expressing your views, through non-violence and sincerity, intelligence and respect seems the best way to reach people, and as usual, I have so much respect for that.

Paying it forward sometimes means using just means to an end, not trying to spread hatred and spite against those who disagree. Good karma breeds good karma, equally so does bad karma.

Finally, about an opportunity missed. It seems to me the recent Miss California incident has done more to polarize people and has quite probably sent the cause backwards, which it didn't have to do. During that event, would the judges have shown respect for that girl's opinion, as was her right, agree or disagree, well then I think so many folks would have seen the good fight in a whole different light. An opportunity lost, I fear, because many people who were on the fence were quite frankly disgusted by the attacks directed at an AMERICAN who stated her honest opinion.

Mutual respect (by both sides) and acceptance defeats bigotry and fear in the long run. Laws might be passed, but otherwise, divides will be created.

If we as a nation let hatred and bigotry browbeat a cause into law, then what have we become? All just causes come through just means and just proponents.

May 7, 2009 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger Carey said...

I think it all boils down to the fact that you can only keep people down for so long before they rebel, and then they use whatever they have at their disposal to fight their fight. In this case, I don't think anyone should attack anybody, but simply accept that not everyone lives his or her life in the same manner and live and let live. Miss California was entitled to her views and unfortunately she became a catalyst in the fray because she voiced an opinion that wasn't popular. Religious, conservative, liberal, progressive, republican, democrat...What does it matter? In the end we're all just people.

May 7, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Christopher Pimental said...

As usual well spoken, pointed and honest.

And of course, I agree because in the end, if people just accept rebellion in this case, what happens next? What happens if all the good old boys suddenly decide they can't keep it inside them any longer and they just "rebel"... it's called racism and bigotry... in both cases. "Just" causes don't provide for a free pass any more than they should for unjust causes... yet so few people are willing to cede to that point.

It can't happen on either side. You know, as Republican as I am, I'm a human being first. My right slant comes more towards common sense and security, mainly cuz I've seen so much bad and know how bad people take advantage of lack of security. On the other hand, I did grow up a Mass-hole and the undertone of growing up was always one of true tolerance, acceptance and open intelligence. Treat me right, I treat you right, plain and simple.

Love is love, baby, opinion is opinion and the USA is (used to be) about folks being able to express it without fear of reprisal, either way.

Man, you ever get the idea that more folks should be more like you and me?

May 7, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Carey said...

I think that people should stop concerning themselves with what they perceive to be right and wrong, because those two concepts are often in the eye of the beholder...and there is no such thing as security. So yes, people as a whole should take a more simplistic view but they should also live their lives by the creeds and the ideals they feel comfortable with, but remember that they cannot shove their beliefs down other people's throats.

May 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Christopher Pimental said...

Amen to that.

May 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM  

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