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A Sound, a Thin Silence



The kangaroos and their Joeys run free in the cities of Australia.  The people multiply and the grasslands decrease and the kangaroos and their joeys run free in the cities of Australia.  The dingoes used to chase the kangaroos and their joeys, but the people multiply and the grasslands decrease and the dingo is no more.  The kangaroos and their joeys run free in the cities of Australia.

The government tries to protect the kangaroos and their joeys, but hey, don’t sweat it, cause, you know, big brother does its best, know what I mean?  And that’s not all, government tries to protect the dingo and the people and the grassland, too, catch my drift?  But it’s all cool, man, even if easy answers don’t come.  Like, I’m telling you, it’s weird though, a sound, a thin silence.  It comes, know what I mean?

The drought in Kenya eats away at the lake and the plant life dies.  The drought in Kenya kills its people and the Ethiopians leave their own drought for the Kenyan lake but the drought in Kenya kills the people and the people say this is not our fault, this is not God’s fault, this is the fault of big business; this is the fault of the West.  They have too much; their much has stolen the water of our lake and we die, cry the beleaguered Kenyans, swirling to heaven on cloudless skies, wrapped in dry shrouds, their burials parched and barren, their angst a lingering memorial to their belief that the largess that invades the West has left a dusty residue of want in third world countries.  Hear us, great cities of the West, they moan, don’t let the embers of our passing be merely grist for your mill of big business.

What nags at me is that sound, that thin silence that says there is something that can be done.  I’m just one person, but does being just one person negate what can happen if that one person gets involved?  It’s easier to leave it all up to government to find a cure, come up with a fix and I’ve tried that, but that sound, that thin silence, it’s still there pulling, saying I won’t be satisfied until I do my part.

There’s a boy I know from a small American town who grew into a tough Marine.  He fought the battle of four tours in Afghanistan and now he’s in Boston working as an EMT.  He was one of the first responders at the bombings.  He heard that sound, that thin silence.  Also, I know a Real Estate tycoon who hired workers and built houses and the salaries he paid meant people had hope they could reach their own dreams.  But, that sound, that thin silence penetrated his slumbers, propelling him on to great joy wrapped in the gossamer sound of laughter of the children of the garbage dumps who escape their prison for an sunny afternoon and feel their souls fly like the wings of the baseball tossed to them by the tycoon and they will sleep that night, bellies full, on cushions of love and care because he listened.

Then there’s this attorney, can you dig it?  The guy takes vacations to hammer nails to rebuild houses in New Orleans, can you beat that?  And one year, he delivered water purifiers to Haiti.  Oh yeah, he heard that sound, that thin silence, but don’t think that lets him off, ‘cause the government says, you have too much, rich guy, you need to pay more taxes.  It’s your duty to pay for those who haven’t had your success.  Right?

A wannabe actress waits tables in Hollywood, and a Pasadena fireman sees the wannabe actress on the stage and the Pasadena fireman and the wannabe actress fall in love.  And, the Pasadena fireman and the wannabe actress set up life in a Pasadena house.  But their dreams are disturbed by that sound, the thin silence, so the fireman and the wannabe actress sell the Pasadena house and travel to India where they slog through red tape and muddy powers that be until six months later, 7 Sisters Rescue Home opens and girls sold into sex trafficking find a refuge.  The US government says, you sold your house; you owe us for that profit.  The government thinks it has heard that sound, a thin silence, but what it hears is spend, spend, spend and we’ll pay for it by raising taxes.

In the muggy South, the young computer guru labors long into the night while his young wife and five small children struggle without enough food; and the car sits on blocks and the children play in a house that is too small and wear hand me down clothes and the young wife believes.  The young computer guru creates coding for the first online shopping cart and the fledgling online book seller pays the young computer guru with stock options, and it’s cool dude, ‘cause ten years later everyone’s older, right?  They’re like in a huge house and the clothes are new, but the computer guy and his wife, they can’t sleep, know what I mean?  They keep hearing that sound, that thin silence and some dude tells them about Eastern European children too old to stay orphans, their government’s about to dump the orphans on the street, so the computer guru’s family takes a flight of fancy, aloft in the skies to an ancient land on the other side of this spinning blue ball where they alight in a world of old stones, stained with a millenium of cries and struggles and battles of its people and there the computer guru’s family slogs through the red tape river, their green retirement dollars flung out before them to light their way and when they emerge they get to come back home to America and bring with them a teen-aged brother and sister who went from about to be homeless to still being able to be kids who play soccer and run marathons and learn English and the computer guru’s family just grew to seven kids, just like that.

I think that’s pretty amazing, but of course, the government says it needs the revenue more than the computer guru and his wife need the adoption deduction, so sorry but the tax code is changed.  Thin silence?  What’s this sound you talk about, says the IRS, your government is hurting, citizen, pay up.  It’s your job, Mr. Computer Guru to meet the financial burden of your government.  It’s not our fault you decided to spend your money in a foreign country to make a couple of kids American citizens.

And in the West the beauty queen and the musician conquer the entrepreneurial world and talented singers, dancers and musicians are employed to entertain the famous.  And in their house in the hills with the plate glass views of the city, the beauty queen and the musician encourage the lonely and the lost and the needy that hide beneath the pretty veneer of the talented singers, dancers and musicians.  They keep hearing that sound, a thin silence, so they keep giving their lives to help others.   Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Entrepreneur, says the US government, you’ve earned enough to be in the rich category, so your tax bracket just increased, aren’t you lucky.

I look at all of this and think, can I hear that thin silence?  What happens if I open my ears and let it change me, too?  Am I ready for the adventure, for what it might cost me?  Am I ready to give up my dependence on tax breaks and social security retirement to do the right thing?  I have to open my ears and hear, I have to, because nothing else will satisfy.  A sound, a thin silence.


4 thoughts on “A Sound, a Thin Silence

  1. Sometimes, as one person, I can look at what is happening in the world around us and feel overwhelmed.

    I felt overwhelmed reading this blog. That is not a negative comment. I appreciate the opportunity to be confronted and provided with the opportunity to consider.

    Thank you.

    This blog raised things I had awareness of, though had not thought about for sometime. It’s good to have a wake up call every now and again!

    • I agree, Louella, it is overwhelming. It helped me to remember that there are people out there doing the hard thing to help others and that we can all do something – wherever we are.

      • Absolutely. Although sometimes we feel the small steps we take are inadequate and cannot fathom how they create change, they do. Every action, however small, in the right direction make a difference, and more often than not is part of a ripple effect that becomes so much bigger than ourselves.

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