Are You A Participator or a Side-liner?
Daily life is filled with choices and the choices all bring consequences. We are either participators in life or we are observers or side-liners. A side-liner is someone who sits on the sidelines and just watches. They do not participate, do not interact, do not get involved because they do not want to have to deal with the consequences. And the sad thing is that much of what is wrong with our country happens because too many have become side-liners. I watched when the shut down happen and the media was asking them what they thought about it and some even said “what shut down?” and went on to say “well, it is not bothering me so I do not care”.
image from patriotdepot.com
I am an extremely sensory person and so I want to smell, taste, touch, hear, see all of life that I can. I want to take it all in and fill my senses and I am thankful now that I did since I have to spend so much time right here on this hospital bed. For those sensory things that I took in have served me well to keep me entertained and encouraged along this journey. I also wanted to make a difference in this world. Yes, I could live my life in my little corner of the world and say nothing or invest nothing of myself and when you invest nothing, you receive nothing.
Participating in life is more than just walking through it. It means standing up for what is right, interacting with those around us to some degree, being involved in how the world around us is running and doing our part such as voting and letting those we put in office know how we the people feel. Participating in life means taking a chance. Yes, you will get hurt. That is part of life. Yes, you will feel uncomfortable emotions like sadness, grief, pain, sorrow. But, if you never participate in life, you are losing all the good things that come with life. You can not have joy without sorrow for if you did not know what sorrow was, how would you judge what joy is? If you did not know what pain was, how would you know what not having pain was?
I look around today and see how many people have become side-liners when it comes to how our country is being run: they are passive passengers on a train heading for a collision. Let me go a little more in-depth on being a side-liner. Side-liners will see someone breaking into an establishment or house and say to themselves or those with them “Don’t say anything. It is not my problem”. They will see abuse, injustice and neglect and turn their heads because it is “not their problem” or so they think. But, it is our problem because one day we could be the one broken in on, the one bullied or abused, the one that loses their rights, home, job. So, it is all our problems.
We only get one shot at this thing called life here on earth. We are not given extended warranties, no “go backs”, no second curtain calls. We get one shot and we either spend it as a participator or as a side-liner. The choice is ours. In reality, those of us that are participators are also side-liners a small part of the time, not because we do not want to be involved in life but because we choose what to invest our time in. We side-line on the trivial stuff, on the drama and bull stuff. We spend our time trying to serve and help others and so we side-line those things that are not that important. There is a difference in that and in someone who spends their life always being an observer because they do not want to deal with the harsh realities that life can bring.
Total observers/side-liners tend to isolate themselves from anything that makes them feel sad or any other uncomfortable emotion. You could ask them if they saw the news about all those people who lost their homes in floods or whatever and they will reply that they do not watch the news because it is too depressing. And yet, the many who do watch, who leave their homes and help those caught in tragedy are participating and enjoying what being a server, what giving of yourself brings. I find there is more joy in giving than in receiving: giving of your time, your talents, your love and yes even your money or possessions. I have watched friends take in others into their homes like my sons and I did through the years: take in those who needed a home for just a little while. Was it easy, no but it sure filled our hearts when we did it. It is a feeling of knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life.
So, are you walking through life as an observer or as a participator? Do you avoid everything that is sad, unjust, etc so that you do not have to feel the uncomfortable emotions? Would you turn your eyes and heart away from those that need help? I have always been a participator and while there have been times that I felt so much sorrow for the people I was helping, when it was all said and done…I would do it again. Please come off the sidelines and become involved in life. This is part of what is wrong with our country. It has become all about self and no one comes together in unity. The eyes to their hearts are closed because they fear feeling the pain, sorrow and maybe even rejection if they stand up for what is right. Yes, peer pressure even exists with adults. We have to stand up for what is right, even if we stand alone.
Have you ever sat at a ball game and “observed” the tense moments where the game is so close and watched all those around you cheering and jumping up and down and they cheer their team on and wished you could be part of that one shot that saved the game? Well, you can be if you step out of the observer role and become a participator of life. Then you can feel the thrill and joy of doing something that will make a difference not just to your little world but to the world around you when you open the eyes of your heart. For once you open the eyes of your heart to the world around you, you will find it very hard to not participate in that world.
And so, I close with this song and although it is about opening the eyes of your heart to the Lord…today I am using it as a song about opening the eyes of your heart to what is going on around you: opening the eyes of your heart to those around you, to those in need, to the abuse, the injustice, the neglect, the abuse of power, to just life and how our country/ world is going around you. This little boy is blind and autistic and yet he knows that we truly see through our hearts for our eyes only see the images: our hearts see the meaning.
video by Christopher Duffley
No comments yet.