So I posted this as a normal Facebook thing but I thought it needed expansion and repetition. As I re-read my original Facebook post, I thought of things I wish I had said. So I will try to say them now.

First, I have to say how remarkable it was that almost all the people that reacted to my original post were women. Not to say there were no men, but not many. And I felt, as I sometimes do, that the world is very in need of the sensibilities of women. In need of that special kind of strength mixed with tears and compassion. Women, often, are very pragmatic problem solvers. Something we seem to be in dire need of. But I digress.

While most of you hopefully are gathered round a table of those you love, giving thanks, be grateful that you are not a child in Yemen, be grateful that you are not homeless due to a fire in California, be grateful that you are not a young man of color in an American prison, be grateful that you are not one of the millions of American children living in poverty and hunger, be grateful that you are not mourning your dead from a shooting in a house of worship or a bomb in Israel. You can be grateful you are not a refugee seeking asylum from terrible violence and having to choose what is safer for your child- the road you are on or the horrors you left. You can be grateful you are not a transgender teenager in a conservative town. Be grateful you are not a high school student afraid to go to the school where your classmates died. And be grateful you are not a parent mourning a child killed in a school shooting.

Every day there is more tragedy, more horror, more sorrow. The world never seemed so sad. It is hard to watch the news. And it is hard to feel helpless. I can only make donations to so many causes. I recycle, I teach, I try to set an example, I make donations when I can, I write, I march, I vote. It does not feel like enough. But it will have to be.

Know that however little you may have it’s probably more then many. Say a prayer of gratitude for what you have and say a prayer for those who don’t. Give thanks.

Things Ruben Wants You To Know #2 ~ Give Something Back

I have done volunteer work all my life, and found it most rewarding. It seems worth it to pass this along; it is something you should know.

There are myriads of opportunities for volunteering: food pantries, The Salvation Army, visiting and perhaps playing games with lonesome residents of nursing homes – to name but a few. The Temple serves meals to the homeless; the shelter always needs help (the day is Wednesday by the way). You could just volunteer to serve at table when any charitable organization puts out meals for the hungry. If you learn some basic carpentry, you could volunteer with “Habitat For Humanity”. Once you obtain a degree, you could volunteer for the Peace Corps or Americorps. There’s Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Little League; there is reading is fundamental, there is tutoring kids who are behind and can’t afford help; there are victims of natural disasters and there are victims of poverty. You could continue your project of colleccting blankets for the homeless every year; you could collect shoes, or backpacks, or school supplies for children who don’t have enough.

Volunteering is very rewarding in the satisfaction you derive from helping others less fortunate than you are. You know that no matter how much you may wish to have, you have been very fortunate and should be very grateful. volunteering gives you tremendous opportunities for gratitude.

The opportunities are endless – the satisfaction is boundless.