This is to be almost a form of journaling, but not based solely on my fears, worries, or inner secrets, but hopefully of a change. My first thoughts when I committed to writing this were admittedly selfish ones; “I’m so rusty, what if it’s awful? Writing is my own solitary, therapeutic respite not often opened to visitors. Are there too many cobwebs for company?” Then I pondered, “How can any words really live up to the light that Rita Langworthy carried within her?” After which, I realized, no words really can, only actions can. I had the pleasure of meeting, before her untimely death, what I can only describe as a vision of inner warmth in a world often too frigid and bitter to fathom it. Rita Langworthy was the type of person whose inner light shone through a room like a lighthouse through fog and made everyone around her feel like they were better versions of themselves by proxy. Originally, I remember hearing about her charity and her sense of humor throughout the years of working and later maintaining a wonderful friendship with her daughter Lin. I remember being captivated, those 10 plus years ago, by them and by this person who seemed to be, and who most certainly was, the antithesis of all the selfish inner inclinations that seem to drive our nature. She was, and is now in many ways still, an amazing angel of refuge to so many that loved her, and will continue to be this to so many more through the reach of her daughter Lin and this organization.
I know that poverty in our country is an issue. A massive, often ignored issue that we may even see on a daily basis but choose to ignore like that pesky broken spring in the mattress we roll away from in hazy sleep. In fairness, it seems almost futile to try to wrap a hand around these things that are so beyond our command, take hold of them and try. I’ve read the articles, often interspersed between the latest organic food trend, and Kardashian beauty tips. The situation is becoming worse, worse than the Great Depression. But, again I’m human, so I push it to the back of my mind, meanwhile worrying about my own financial, mental, superficial problems. Modern man has evolved at an astounding pace, so astounding, in fact that we may have given up small bits of our humanity in the leap. When we have food, shelter, and warmth, we have become more and more unhappy with the lack of frivolous “essentials” as opposed to the basic human needs. Essentially, we’re unhappy due to boredom. But what if we really didn’t have these essentials? Shelter, food, safe water to drink, or even a safe place to lay our heads at night; truly, I wouldn’t even begin to know what that feels like. I’ve always had a roof over my head and food to keep me satiated. Compared to the millions of children that are struggling just to survive, it all seems incredibly trivial really. There are huddled masses of these children but only a handful of people that find themselves called to wrap them up in just enough light and warmth so that they can bloom.
I’ve been inspired by this wonderful woman and her daughter’s will to continue her Mother’s ever reaching grace. It is never too late to try to make a difference in the world.
So, back to the action part — I would like to document my journey within this column. I’ll be signing up for various food banks and as many volunteer organizations as I can fit into my timeline in an attempt to hold on to at least a fraction of the good that Rita gave to this world. I’ve become so cynical that the smallest gesture of humanity throws me back on my heels a bit. But what if we all gave that little glimpse when we could? More than just giving our change into the charity jar at the cash register, what would that add up to? A step above, albeit a small one at first, it could add up to real humanity — real reach. I soon realized in researching where I could sign up to volunteer, that I should have done so years ago. These sites require around 2-3 hours of a commitment a week and there really is no excuse not to. Though I may never live up to an angel, I can see no reason I can’t offer some small sentiment of refuge.