When I first met my surgeon, I had only been living with a cancer diagnosis for a few days. I was terrified and knew nothing. I thought I would read my death sentence in his face immediately along with a sorrowful apology that he couldn’t do much for me. When he walked in the room smiling, my fear literally disappeared out the door behind him. He joked with me about my name because of the Seinfeld reference. He didn’t say anything about my disease at first, so it wasn’t his plan that made me brave. It was his attitude. I knew that whatever the fight would be, I could do it with him.
President Obama has that effect when he speaks. When he gave his inaugural address, I felt completely swept up in all the hope so many people were putting in him and the determined way he’s meeting it. I found myself wanting him to tell us what to do. I wanted him to say, “Be kind. Love each other. In these frightening times, find a way to help not just yourself but your neighbor. Because if we all do that, the climate will change, and the economy will follow.” Idealistic much? Oh yeah.
I told you the world just lost a wonderful man named Keith Lawson. He moved to my hometown not long before I was born in it, and soon founded the food pantry that is still going strong. I wrote about that food pantry in an article for Radiant Magazine. (Update: This website no longer exists.) The idea in the article is completely awesome. Unfortunately, I’m still not really practicing. It’s one thing to realize you’re not a giver. It’s another to actually become one. Keith really was one.