Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Least I Can Do ...

I need to give more.

The last post ended with the words "I need to live more," and that's true, I do.

But part of that living will be giving.

I used to volunteer on a weekly basis. I've gotten away from it. There is no good excuse, really. Inconvenience? That doesn't count.

I just watched "The Constant Gardener." It is an amazing film based on what must be an amazing book with an unfortunate title. It makes sense, in the context of the film, but I fear that the title has done little to draw an appropriate amount of people into theaters. It cost $25 million to make. It brought in, domestically, just under $34 million.

Rachel Weisz, well-deserving of her Oscar nomination, plays Tessa, a wealthy British woman who chooses to work with world humanitarian agencies and travels to Africa where she embraces the local children and asks questions about AIDS testing.

By the end of the film, I actually said out loud, "I need to volunteer more."

Throughout the film, Tessa wants to help anyone within reach. Ralph Fiennes, as her diplomat husband, Justin, tries to remind her that there are millions of people in Africa who need her help, but she can't help them all. By the end of the film, Justin, of course, wants to do whatever he can, if only to save one child.

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal, but I often feel embarrassment and guilt over all that I have. I'm not suggesting I should sell my home and donate the proceeds to charity. I don't have the courage. And surely I can't end the AIDS crisis in Africa. I'll leave that to the Bonos of the world. You need a global presence to affect global change. (Though I can support The One Campaign, and I do.)

Tonight, it is bitterly cold. There are those who have nowhere to go to simply get warm , and I sit here, with so much more than I need. The least I can do is give back in some way. I don't have much money to spare, but I do have time.

So it is time I will give.

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