The Future We Want

Martin Luther King, Jr said:

Any movement – any culture – will fail if it cannot paint a picture of a world that people will want to go to.

This quote is as important today as it was when King said it.   While I can picture the world I want to live in, painting it isn’t possible, I’m not that skilled with a paint brush. Therefore, words are all I have today.

Being disabled, there are many tasks that are difficult or time-consuming for me.  I don’t give it much thought ordinarily but recent events have shown me that my disability has opened a door for bridging the gap between the world most see when they look at the world around them and the world we wish we saw.

One example of this is the simple task of mowing and trimming the grass.  I get the job done, but working from a seated position the mower is awkward to push as the handle is too high from my advantage. The trimmer is the same situation.  My arms and back tire easily. I look at the task of mowing and trimming the grass as excellent exercise for my weak muscles.

On the other hand, my neighbor sees me cutting the grass and sees a hard job, one she can help me with.  If she, or any of the several neighbor children, see me mowing they will come and beg me to let them take over.

In this case, I am receiving help but what do they get out of the deal?  Yes, I give back in many ways from sharing my resources such as tools and know-how, to filling in when an emergency sitter is needed. They also receive the good feeling of being of service. We often forget that we are social animals who thrive best in groups.

In society today, we don’t see volunteerism. Instead, it’s mostly news clips that tell us of a good deed done in some other place.

The several of us who live along this block have learned to look to each other for assistance. We share tools, knowledge, food, and our time. With one very sick child in the neighborhood it’s not uncommon for phone calls to go out looking for someone to get the other siblings off the bus and keep an eye on them until the parent can leave the hospital.

I’ve never claimed to be a poet and so I’ve selected a few songs that represent what I picture as the world I want to see.

John Lennon says it best in Imagine.


Matthew West describes his world in Do Something.

Casey Abrams, shares how I feel about simple living and how the world would be better if we realized material things won’t bring happiness.

Not to sound like a broken record but the world I want to see is a peaceful world, one where our individuality is embraced. Children are loved unconditionally. There would be no homelessness, no sweat shops, and local communities would thrive while being safe places for every one of us. It goes without saying I want to see a healthy world where we can enjoy the natural wonders and not worry that they will be gone one day.

Paint your world and let’s see if we can make our visions come to life.

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8 thoughts on “The Future We Want

  1. Lovely post Lois, your neighbourhood sounds like a great place. It’s a case of “Be the change you want to see in the world” isn’t it. And hope it rubs off on others.

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    1. The neighborhood isn’t perfect, but what one is? I have yet to meet any one here who is concerned about the environment or healthy food but small steps and we may get there.

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  2. Awww… now I’m gonna have John Lennon in my brain for the next 24 hours! I too want a world where sharing is the rule not the exception. So much of it involves people just getting to know each other. I suppose my neighborhood has more barriers than most, since we’re about 50/50 English and Spanish speakers – but even with that, I think we do a good job looking out for each other. It’s funny, but the “glue” for us seems to be pets. Not sure why, but virtually everyone here has either dogs or cats, and we all look out for each other’s “fur babies.” In fact, I just got an email from one of my neighbors asking me if I’d feed her dogs when she has to work late this week.

    We even have a bit of a tradition of “communal pets.” It’s not something that’s planned, but we always seem to have at least one dog or cat who makes regular rounds, and instead of being annoyed, we all just see them as our joint responsibility. The guy who used to live across the alley had an Australian shepherd who would jump the fence – but he didn’t go far, he just wanted company while his person was at work. So we all took care of Cujo – played with him when he was lonely, let him come inside and hide in our closets during thunderstorms, and we all cried when he got old and had to be put down a few years back.

    Currently, it’s Tony the troublemaker cat. Nobody’s sure where he came from, but one day this orange kitten just wandered into the cat door of one of my neighbors, and she wasn’t about to turn him away. She feeds him, got him fixed and makes sure he gets his shots, and while he sleeps with her, he refuses to be contained during the daytime, so we all take care of him when he’s out and about.

    Honestly, I think it’s probably better for the animals if they don’t wander, but the community bonding aspect of it is hard to replace.

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    1. That’s a good reason not to have pet doors. Just imagine what could have come inside other than a cat!

      I would love a better mix of racial and cultural diversity here. There are maybe two black or interracial families, one group of Mexicans who live together. The majority of the town is white and seem to look down on anyone not like them.

      Most people have pets here but most people will complain if a pet gets loose so that’s not a glue for us. Children seem to be what brings the people here together. It was the children wanting to know what I was doing that introduced me to their parents as well.

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  3. You have hit the nail on the head, Lois. Words are just like paint. We color our world with them that’s why it’s so important to be mindful of what we think, write and speak. Every word becomes material if we say it enough. You are also correct that allowing people to be of assistance helps them too. I want to live in the same world you want. That”s the world I’m going to give my attention.

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  4. Agreed. Peaceful community is really something to aim for.

    I still find it somewhat awkward when I encounter someone with a disability struggling with a task. Of course if it’s obvious I will offer help, but often I wonder if I should or not. I don’t want to patronise anyone and the person may genuinely be keen to manage whatever it is by themselves, but it leaves me unsure whether to offer help or not or be rebuffed if I do.

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    1. I can only give you my opinion as one person who is disabled. I would offer help when you feel you would offer help to an abled-bodied person who appeared to be struggling. It has been my experience that those who are offended by offers of help have not accepted their limitations yet. They may have recently become disabled and struggling with the adjustment. When I have been offered help by strangers and don’t need it I will thank them for their generous offer but insist I am fine. Other times it is greatly appreciated.

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