Beyond Stone Soup

While I don’t particularly align myself with one religion, believing them all to be, at heart, essentially the same (i.e. before they become twisted and tweaked and molded to some right or left extremist’s desire), when I do participate, I attend the Liberal Catholic Church. As I’m married to a Liberal Catholic Priest, it seems the thing to do.

So, this past Sunday, Father Dan (who I am not married to) gave a sermon centered around the story, Stone Soup. I won’t repeat the story for I’m sure WordPress will provide a handy little link, should you care to read a copy; however, the essential message is that by working together, we can achieve far more than by working alone. (i.e. We Need Each Other.) And it made me think…

As a writer, I spend most of my day alone, sitting in front of my computer, staring at the screen as it fills up with words typed by my fingers. Occasionally, I check Facebook. Checking Facebook is a bit like standing up in my cubical and looking around to make sure I’m not alone in the office (i.e. the world). And while I hope my stories entertain and occasionally inspire, is writing, which provides me with personal and professional satisfaction, and yes, is even beneficial to others, enough?

Back when people lived in farming communities, the job each individual performed clearly benefitted the whole. A successful crop wasn’t one man’s success, but many. Today, I think most of us know that even though life is much more complicated than it was a thousand years ago, to the extent that food and shelter seem to be just the tip of the iceberg, we still need each other to survive. To put it simply, even Brad Pitt needs someone to pay to watch his movies so that he can feed his family, just as sometimes we need to watch Brad Pitt’s movies to be entertained, or inspired, or to simply escape from our complicated lives for a few hours.

But once again, I return to the question: is performing our jobs, jobs that clearly are beneficial to society, enough? And the answer I come to is, no. Why? Because there are people in this world who need more. There are the elderly, the desperately poor and the sick. To go beyond the story of Stone Soup: we, who can, must participate in creating the soup and then serve it to those who cannot. Brad Pitt obviously feels that way too, for he and his wife participate in several volunteer projects.

So, after listening to Father Dan’s sermon, I made a list. A list of those I need to remember to reach out to and ways that, within the scope of my life, I can. Forget the big volunteer project, I’ll leave that to Brad Pitt; I have plenty of elderly, sick and even furry animals who need extra attention. I believe in the saying, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” For as Mother Teresa said, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

I’ll leave you with this thought: Who needs to be on your list?


4 thoughts on “Beyond Stone Soup

  1. denisedthornton says:

    Well put, Lorijo.
    The global/local dynamic is a powerful one. And reaching out to those around us is crucial to the fabric of society (which is straining under many pressures these days).
    I’m going to be thinking about your post all day.


  2. Steven Arndt says:

    Well said! In our little town out in Iowa we have a local Volunteer Center and last weekend the coordinator organized a winter weatherization project for 12 homes. These homes are owned by low income elderly who can not take care of these kinds of things by themselves. With the help of about 65 volunteers and a government grant we were able to put plastic on the inside of the windows, caulk the outside of the windows, weatherstrip doors and electrical outlets, and caulk foundation cracks. In the few hours that we each spent you walk away feeling more like you just helped a family member, not some stranger. As I used to tell our daughter when she was young, “there are no strangers, only friends I have not yet met”.


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