In our hands, throughout the day we have devices that will give us any bit of information we desire at any given moment. Did my team win the game? What type of smoothie will help me lose weight? What is the name of the female Smurf? Literally, you can find out anything with a click of a mouse. Now we can even ask “Alexa.” Is it possible that with all this information we have lost some, or maybe most, of our awareness?
Awareness is defined as ‘knowledge or perception of a situation or fact’ (Oxford Dictionaries). Yes, we have gained knowledge, and we have information, but what about what goes with the knowledge? The perception. Perception takes awareness to the next level. Perception is the thought or insight once you know about something. Sometimes knowing is not enough. Knowing who won the game, that there are no smoothies that will erase the hot fudge sundaes, and that the female Smurf is, of course, ‘Smurfette,’ really does nothing and it changes very little. While information can make us look smart or win trivia, what good is it? We have information about everything now, good and bad, so what do we do with it? The examples given above are simple, and a bit silly, but the real examples are the ones we see on the nightly news and what we experience in our daily lives.
Each day we encounter people. In this day and age people are scary, or at least that can be our knowledge. When we watch the nightly news and read stories about people and how they hurt one another, it makes them scary. What if that person beside you isn’t frightening but just a person? Maybe they are just another person with feelings, hurts, heroic acts, love, family, silliness. What if they are a person like you? What if they are someone seeking meaning, truth, understanding, and hope? What if you broke through the fear of the information you think you have and become aware of another person? Then what?
This is where awareness evolves. This is now where you are not only aware, but change can happen. Awareness is great, but really, what is the point if nothing happens in your awareness? What if awareness then becomes action, responsibility, accountability? This is where the real fear is, and this is when you might have to get off your rump and care, take risks, or even get hurt. This is also where life starts to count and where it matters.
So, you want me to what? Walk into a homeless shelter and just ask to help? You want me to talk to a mom who appears to be struggling and give her love and support? You want me to strike up a conversation with some kids who are just standing there looking all ‘bad to the bone’? YES, YES, YES! DO SOMETHING!
So many times, we walk away thinking someone should do something about that.
Maybe, just maybe, YOU should do something about that. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to care, to put in the time, and then something can be transformed. There are schools that are full of hurting kids and people who are hungry for more than food.
What if you answer the call? What if you act on your awareness? Start simple. Say ‘good morning.’ Smile at people. Then take bigger steps. Walk into the church, a school or organization and offer your God-given abilities. Join your community. We have all heard that once you see an injustice, you become responsible. You have awareness now. Do something with it.