“It’s Not Just What You’re Given”

Carol A. Hand

There are those who build walls and gated communities
to protect privileges and possessions

And there are those who courageously reach out
with compassion across borders that divide
to ease the suffering of others during desperate times

Protecting privilege comes with such a heavy cost

When will we realize the price is too heavy to bear?

It’s not me versus you, or us versus them
We’re all on this earth together
Each one carries gifts too precious to squander


The title of this post comes from a song written by Si Kahn, “What You Do with What You’ve Got.” It was playing through my mind this morning. I know I’ve shared it before but it seems fitting to share it again.

The song and words of the poem above came to me this morning as I once again choked back tears after watching the video Bob Ramsak shared yesterday on Piran Café. I hope you will all visit his post to learn more about “4.1 Miles.”

A word of warning – The following video may break your heart.

Though our hearts break, may we all do what we can to continue reaching across differences to ease the suffering of others.


26 thoughts on ““It’s Not Just What You’re Given”

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  1. Carol, your words are true. I awoke thinking similar things. Maybe that’s why Jesus believed being wealthy is so hard to overcome.Yet I know good people who use their wealth and influence with courage and generosity.Just not enough of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your always thoughtful comments, Michael.

      As I ponder what wealth really is , I return to the words of Kahlil Gibran in “The Prophet.”

      “There are those who give little of the much with they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and who give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.”

      I wonder whose work and suffering ultimately generated the wealth of those who have much. And I wonder what good it does if it isn’t shared to help those in need.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As Frank Herbert observed of the planet Arrakis in his Dune series, we have entered the time of the crucible. I began my aware life as a rebel environmentalist and pacifist, or at least as an anti-war activist. In those 60’s and 70’s we called upon the world to listen, that things looked bad for the planet; that the world was being taken over by psychopathic forces of the MIC. For the most part, we were mocked, laughed at at political gatherings, received death threats and the term “Chicken Little” was bandied about a lot. Today the world is not looking at a new phenomenon, but at something it deliberately allowed to happen, and actively supported through consumerism, apathy, and the support of the military. This is the result of complete lack of care; of foresight; of willingness to do some dirty work “today” so as to avoid some disaster later. Now is later. If I hadn’t been there then I probably couldn’t see how it built up, but I was. I am being vindicated daily. It doesn’t make me feel any better but it’s something. You did this to yourselves, people, no one forced it on you and today should not come as a surprise at all. You let the good times roll… as the silly Beach Boys song went, “Fun, fun, fun, ’til her daddy took the T-Bird away.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your crucial insights and experiences, Sha’Tara. How I truly wish people had listened to sage advice sooner. Perhaps the many global tragedies occurring now could have been prevented. The sad reality today is that people are dying and suffering as a result while the elite build yet more walls and gated communities. Raising our collective awareness and compassionate responses remains as important now as it was in the past. I know you know that from the work you continue to do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Carol. Indeed. True wealth is not about how much we possess, but about how much we share. And wealth takes many forms besides the money and the material: time, knowledge, compassion, courage, and two good hands… to name but a few. We all have so much more to share than we think. Sent with a prayer that we each find a noble purpose given our unique endowment of blessings, burdens, passions. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Bob, and for sharing this film on your blog. The magnitude of suffering and heroism brought me to tears. The message conveyed needs to be shared far and wide.

      Thank you for the work you do to raise awareness about crucial issues.


  4. Thank you for your beautiful words, Carol, and for sharing the video, though heartbreaking. I don’t believe that what is happening in our world is sustainable. “We are all on this Earth together,” is a statement that not everyone takes to heart, and yet it is one of the essential truths. Gated communities may give the impression of safety, but no one is truly immune to the destruction of the planet, the far-reaching effects of war, the marginalization of whole swaths of people. We are all intricately interdependent. Sadly, I think it will get worse before it gets better. The question is how much worse. The peaceful protests give me hope but we will see if those in power care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking of gated communities for the elites… Donald Drumpf is about to create the greatest gated community ever, or at least since the building of the Great Wall of China. Gated Community America… reminds me of Hitler’s “Festung Europa” or Fortress Europe.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know. The man is a horror story for the world, the country, and all the communities and individuals who are going to suffer as he shreds any semblence of respect, kindness, and compassion. The only good thing he’s done is united us against him. We have to speak up and act up without pause. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you so much for sharing thoughtful, honest perspectives and insights, Diana. There are no easy answers, to be sure. I keep wondering if it is possible to create face-to-face dialogue opportunities in each neighborhood and community. Sharing perspectives and listening without judging is a necessary first step in mutual understanding, the foundation for building common ground. We won’t agree on many things, but I do believe most people want similar things – food, shelter, health, peace, a sense of belonging to a community, being seen as valuable and worthy of respect, and to having opportunities to develop and share their unique skills in exchange for fair/equitable reciprocity (not necessarily monetary). I wonder if it’s possible to agree to work together to meet those needs without worrying which god to follow, what political party we join, or the tone of our skin? I don’t believe we can look to “leaders” for solutions. As you point out, they don’t listen and they don’t care about us. Leadership in this culture means dominating others and getting what you can for yourself out of the deal. We need to be the leaders in whatever ways we can because we must and we need to grow more of our own. But that’s just me thinking with my typing fingers. Thank you for thought-provoking comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so filled with grace and common sense, Carol. I notice that on the local level those conversations are possible, most of the time. I live in a rural, Trump supporting town. But face to face, in daily life, political differences aren’t noticeable and we work together for the betterment of our community. It’s a place to start 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol, the video really hit home for me. As families are divided, is it any wonder that our country is so divided? Even as many of us feel alone, I am grateful for the safe space here. I hope we will find our way forward with minimum impact on the most vulnerable. I feel that true wealth is the love in our hearts. We need to return there again and again and again, as often as necessary. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Carrie. I agree that we need to find our own center of love, compassion, and peace as a foundation for relating to others. Otherwise, we just reproduce reactionary divisiveness. As you point out so eloquently, it’s not easy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Marahu. It is a wise decision to wait to wait to watch the “4.1 Miles” video. There are far too many heartbreaking situations these days. Hope and balance are ever more important as we all try to stand compassionately in the “tragic gap,” as Parker Palmer says, between the world as it is and what we know it could be. (http://www.couragerenewal.org/723/)

      Liked by 1 person

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