Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Asking Big Questions

Today's Slice of Life gave me a moment to stop, look, and ask myself some pretty big questions. Here's what follows.

There are some critics of the #icebucketchallenge but it all started with one guy on an honorable mission trying to fight the good fight; to raise money, awareness and potentially a cure for ALS.

If I'm being honest I need to say that I didn't really know much about ALS before this all started. Sure, I've heard of Lou Gehrig's Disease but I couldn't really speak to it with any depth.  After watching more than my share of #icebucketchallenge videos I found myself digging a bit deeper and visiting ALSA.org to know more.

I now know:
  • it's a neurological disorder
  • there is no cure
  • it causes atrophy of the muscles
  • that it usually leads to death 2 - 5 years after diagnosis

I couldn't imagine having to go through this or worse, having to watch a family member deal with this. Saying that ALS is heart breaking is an understatement.  However, I'm faced with another truth and that is there are no shortages of heart breaking stories in the world.  ALS has justly received it's due notice and has been placed in the forefront of our lives and in our social media feeds.

Because of this I'm left with a few questions:
  • What will I do now?
  • Will I donate?
  • Will I post a video and challenge others to do the same?
  • Will I contribute somehow to this just cause?
  • Will my behavior and attitudes towards this horrific disease change?
I suppose I will have to wrestle with each of these questions but, I'm once again reminded that there are no shortages of heart breaking stories in the world.  The moment I begin to look at the world through this lens it's pretty easy to find virtually unlimited examples of life as it's not intended to be.

And so... as usual, I'm left with more questions than answers.
  • What am I doing to really help others?
  • How am I really making our world just a little bit better?
  • Am I really using my limited time and resources as effectively as I can be?
These are important questions and like I've heard before from someone far more eloquent than I...

In the meantime, I'm on bended knee seeking answers to these questions that are rolling around in my head. 


  1. John,
    First of all, welcome to the Slice of Life community! Always happy to hear more stories from another voice. I was shaking my head in agreement all the way through your post. I also thank you for the links as well - I had no idea where this challenge started! I was "nominated" this past weekend, but didn't know the full story behind the story. I didn't feel right just going through the motions of the ice bucket challenge because everyone else was...

    Your words speak truth: "There are no shortages of heart breaking stories in the world." So, as Blake stated, we can't do everything, but we can find that something that we are passionate about and make a difference.

    I appreciate your insights and will pray alongside you in seeking answers....thanks for sharing your thoughts today! Provided me more food for thought as well!


    1. Thanks so much Michelle for your warm welcome to the Slice of Life community and thoughtful comments. I look forward to the shared writing journey.

  2. Your post really made me think. The whole ALS bucket challenge has exploded on the internet and part of it is the whole notion of showing off I think. But people do want to help and if this is what it takes, so be it.
    There are so many awful things abounding in our world and we must reach out.

    1. Thanks Beverly. I think you're spot on - I do think that sometimes we need to wake up to the challenges of others. I too often sink into the comforts of my own life and the challenges going on in my own life and forget that there are so many others who have it far worse. Perhaps I am awake now and can look beyond myself and reach out more to help.

  3. I can relate to your post today. I was challenged and had those same questions...but I caved in and did it...mainly because of who challenged me. My husband feels it is a type of extortion, and even though he gives to many charities...he does not like the idea that he is being put on the spot. I guess we each have to do what we feel comfortable in doing. The fact that you have questions as in what you can do...makes me feel that you are probably doing a lot more than others....but I did like the advice that we each do what we can...and if we each did...think about what life for others would be! Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/2014/08/distractions-while-writing.html

    1. Well said Jackie...well said. Thanks.

  4. One of my closest friends works at Boston College where this student attended. I have had the chance to meet him and he is an amazing person. I think this challenge reminds the importance we can each make in the world. If we all believe we have the power to choose to make a positive change the world would be different. I think just by causing you to pause he has achieved his goal in the challenge. Have you read Each Kindness? It is a picture book that has a powerful message about taking opportunities to make a difference. Thanks for your post.


    1. Clare,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing this connection you have with Pete. He is certainly a courageous individual and it shows the potential that one person has.

      I think Pete has reminded us all, especially myself, that it's pretty important to find something in the world that we are passionate about and jump in at some level to help.


      p.s. - I have not read Each Kindness but will certainly check it out. Thanks so much.