Most of the developed world is aware of the Notre Dame tragedy. That terrifying blaze swept through the landmark and nearly destroyed 850 years of history. The religious and secular communities alike were shaken as the flames devoured everything they could consume before finally being quenched.
My social media feeds have overflowed with tears and sentiments from friends and acquaintances sharing photos of themselves smiling in front of stained-glass windows, dual towers, or one of the most recognizable spires in the world. People are devastated.
Less than 48 hours later, nearly 1 billion dollars has been raised, in country, to restore the landmark. Those numbers are staggering to 99% of the world’s population. We can’t even fathom that amount of money. It does however leave many asking: if 1 billion can be raised for a building, why is there still such a gap in poverty, healthcare, immigration, and education?
Being American, I can’t speak for the state of France, its economy, or government, but it seems as if the old excuse of “the money simply isn’t there” when needs arise is falling a little flat. We’ve seen similar themes in the United States as well. The Flint, Michigan water crisis, the Puerto Rico food and debt crisis, and even the typhus epidemic in Los Angeles are not only ongoing issues but growing ones in certain situations, leaving many to blame the government for not doing a better job of allocating funds.
If you look closely however, whenever these types of tragedies and crises occur, it is the people who step up and fill in the gaps. In less than 24 hours, over 20 million dollars was raised to support immigrant families at the US-Mexico border through a GoFundMe operation in 2018. The Southern Baptist denomination reported an estimated $40 million was raised for Katrina relief in 2005. J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans raised more than 37 million dollars in a matter of weeks through crowdfunding after catastrophic Hurricane Harvey tore through Houston, Texas. And these are merely a handful of examples.
It’s vital, however, that we don’t get in the habit of giving away our power. It’s (wo)man who changes the world, not some organization or government or collective power. Finger pointing and shaming those who don’t step up, or perhaps who do step up but not in the way we think they should, only puts our power into their hands.
That should never be the case with anything. We are enough in ourselves to change the world. Humankind proven that much already, especially in recent years with the implementation of crowdfunding. Instead of blaming others and relinquishing our power, our goal should be getting our message out there and inspiring others to share in our mission. If Puerto Rico, human trafficking, or even your local homeless shelter inspires you to change, BE THE CHANGE.
Don’t assign the change to someone else.
Mankind is obviously passionate. We clearly care about the state of our planet and those who live on it. Otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about our frustrations so often. But the very first step is getting others to care, as well. That can’t be done by berating or shaming them into action. Talk about what you want to achieve, and put your plan into action. Give up the vacation, put down that Starbucks, and or cancel your cable subscription. The time and money is there if you want it to be. And even when it isn’t, kindness is 100% free. But never, ever give anyone else your power by placing your growth, or that of the world around you, in their hands.