The End of Life As We Know It (A Reprisal)

This post first appeared here January 16, 2012. It’s time to give myself a check-up on how I’m doing. Perhaps you’ll benefit, too. . . .

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


I can’t help but wonder … Is the opposite true, too?


Is it possible that life in its truest and best form actually BEGINS the day we stop being silent about things that matter?

The day we give voice to someone who has none

When we value the life stories that came before ours

… and let the generation after ours be born to tell theirs.

When we stop worrying about awkward situations and show hands-on caring to people whose futures are uncertain …

… who feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders …

… who work from paycheck to paycheck — hoping to make ends meet.

People who have no paycheck — or home — and for whom the ends don’t meet … and never will.

When we stop silently snubbing people who make poor choices … and start showing compassion and encouragement and offering hope for a brighter future.

Read the rest of the story …

The day we quit ignoring hard truths — like the fact that hundreds of thousands of pre-adolescent girls are forced into prostitution every year. Are we really going to remain silent?

Silent … about little ones held captive in situations beyond their control … while we experience freedom?

In fact, I wonder… Are we silent about that, too? Do we silently respect our protectors … or are we quick to say aloud how much we value their service and their sacrifice …

… and the many unsung, often unknown, sacrifices of their families.

Are we so busy with our own lives that we forget the stresses and challenges of young husbands and wives? Is there encouragement we can offer … if we’ll just break our silence?

And young families … Those sweet little ones grow up, and sometimes the “sweet” turns bitter and exhausting … and young parents need the prayers and listening ears of those of us who have already been down that road. And sometimes they just need a babysitter …

It used to be the norm for families to value relationships and teach morals …

For students to actually receive a worthwhile education … while giving and getting respect. And teachers could count on the support of parents rather than the blame …

“Work ethic” used to mean something …

And faith was the cornerstone of all that was right in our world …

In some circumstances, the proverbial saying, “Silence is golden” is true … but not in any of these.


Tears of hurting people flow in silence because many of us have been silent far too long, and our world … and churches … and families are now experiencing the consequences of our negligence.


Isn’t it time we break our silence? Isn’t it time we pay attention and give credence to things that truly matter?


Isn’t it time we started living … making a difference … instead of going through the motions?

What changes are you going to make … today? What research are you going to do … now … to learn the facts about a “silent” topic?

Whose world is going to be better because you decide to enter it … and give them a voice?

I considered turning off comments … but decided against it. IF you leave a comment, I hope it’s because one of these areas has struck a chord with you, and you’re going to start trying to find your voice. I’d love to know what “silent” topic is tugging at your heart. But please… I can’t bear to read any, “We need to do more for those poor people” comments. We’ve said that … and done too little … for too long.




  1. Jody Benge says:

    Sometimes, we just need to listen to people and do even tiny little things that make a difference, save them time, give them encouragement, a hug or a leg up. I helped a friend locate an educational toy for her child by bringing in the phone number of the store that has it in stock. I gave a huge hug when someone else had a hard day, and listened to her tell about the difficulties. I spent an hour on the phone with an elderly relative reminiscing (even though I was in the midst of a time crunch myself. I said encouraging words and offered to pray for a Mother dealing with a very disabled child about to have surgery. I sent a card to a person who needed uplifting. I responded to many requests from friends and even those unknown to me, for prayers for various persons and issues. I praised the school secretary and took her brownies for doing a great job all year long. I took 2 elderly ladies to lunch over the holidays and talked and had fun together.My husband and I spent several hours with two family members who were distraught over the actions of their grown child and asked for guidance.These are not big things for me, but maybe they were big things to those on the receiving end. Maybe I/we gave some of these persons a little comfort, peace of mind and/or love and caring.

    But I make my mistakes as well. Just yesterday in the grocery store, a young adult had to put all of his groceries back either because his debit card or food stamp card was empty. I didn’t think fast enough about helping him,, but felt sad immediately afterward, because I did not pay for his groceries, that maybe were only 15 or 20 dollars. That has been bothering me, because even though I really did not have the money to spare, I would have done it anyway, probably making that man’s day, or maybe providing the only food he would have for a few days. I have now prayed several times for me to be more aware of those around me and their plights, and help if at all possible. Maybe these are not big worldly problems, but they are problems and ones that are close to home for me, that I can do something about. We live in a hurting world, and if I can help “one person at a time”, I am doing something to bring about change. MAKE YOUR LITTLE CANDLE SHINE! I am so grateful for parents, grandparents, relatives, and ministers who instilled in me the love of God and the importance of helping others.

    • Jody, thank you for sharing some great “creative caring” ideas with all of us! We do live in a hurting world, and you offer much encouragement to open our eyes and minister to the ones in our circle of influence. I, too, am thankful for the legacy of helping others that I received, and I’m still learning to put that training to good use! Thanks for spurring me on!

  2. Susan, last year I wrote a post called “What If She Were My Granddaughter” that related to the 230 Nigerian girls abducted by the Boko Haram. It has turned out to be one of my most popular posts. Shortly after I wrote it our church became involved in the A21 Campaign, which is dedicated to stopping human trafficking and I have done some volunteer work on their behalf. Not much. . .not nearly enough. . .but it’s a step toward getting me out of my safe, untouched life and doing something that really matters now and for eternity . This is something God has certainly laid on my heart. Thanks for the excellent post. ~ Nancy

  3. What a thought-provoking and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing these challenging words. Just as relevant today as in 2012.

  4. Beautifully written and oh so true! We look to government to uphold truth and morality, it starts in the hearts of each person and the choices each of us makes. Through God’s direction and power…let it begin with ME!
    Many blessings,

  5. Susan, I specifically remember this post and I’ve not allowed the thoughts behind it to ever be far from my mind. Your radical, and I say that in a good way, change or refocus made an imprint on me. You have challenged me to do more. As a retired special ed. teacher in a very low socioeconomic school, I remember half my time was spent on making sure the children had clothes, school supplies, field trip money, etc. Back in the 80’s, before all the litigation fears, I could teach to the whole child. I felt as though I had been placed in a mission field. But now, I’m retired, and I need to find a new mission field. Oh I help give to mission trips, etc. .. but I don’t feel I’m doing all I can do personally. Your post is a reminder that I need to look around and pick an area I can be “Jesus with skin on”. I have begun making blankets for mothers of still born babies. My daughter volunteers as a bereavement photographer for an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Or local hospitals call her and her team when a child passes away. The parents more often than not accept the free photography which is done on black&white, edited with dignity. It is an awesome service and I love helping out in my own way. I also make layette gowns open in the back, complete with pillow and tiny stuffed animal as a keepsake for the grieving parents. My was born premature and diagnosed with CP so I also make palette blankets for the Nicu. It’s a start but I want to be more hands on. Sorry for the long length of this reply, but your post touched my heart a second time. If you ever wonder if other people read your posts, I can assure you I am a loyal follower. .. don’t always reply but I do read.
    Jane (Gmama Jane ) Hillis

    • Jane, I remember reading some of your posts about your daughter’s and your ministries to grieving families. I was so touched by that. I do know, also, what it feels like to “never be doing enough”—and wondering exactly where my time is to be spent. I, too, miss the days when teachers could teach to the whole child—and churches ministered to the whole family…

      Thank you for your comment and especially for your encouragement! Every time I write a “from the heart about things that really matter” post, I lose subscribers. I’m so darn human and always have to remind myself that subscribers are neither my concern nor my goal!