“I don’t do these things because I can,” Tommie Lee said, “I do them because I want to.”
Mark it, write it down, commit it to action; I remember thinking when I heard Tommie Lee’s response.
It was an indignant response to an impertinent question.
“How is it,” I asked, “that you are taking care of your community when most people would think the community should be taking are of you?”
It was a question I had to ask. You see, Tommie Lee was blind and black and lived in part of Mississippi so poor they used recycled tin cans as water glasses.
Still, he found a way to provide food, clothing, and medical assistance to those around him through a charity he started the year he lost his sight. How was that possible?
Tommie Lee felt and I have come to believe that no matter who you are, now matter what the circumstances of your birth there is always something you can do, some way to help.
At the moment, the Heart of America is responding to the devastation created by Hurricane Sandy – just as we responded to the need in the Gulf following Hurricane Katrina and the need in New York after 9/11.
There are lots of reasons to pass: preexisting commitments, staff stretch to the limits with library makeover projects, no certainty we can find support, not to mention inconvenient timing – it’s comes as we approach the holidays after all and all that entails.
There is only one reason to proceed. We want to.
Moment by moment, day after day, life questions us. We are defined by what we do and how we respond.