I used to be bothered by her question. I wanted an answer: “I’m fine.” Or “I don’t feel so good today.” I would sometimes say "Aunt Elbina, it's OK to complain." I knew she had a hard life. She ran a furniture business with her brothers and in those days being a female businesswoman was very demanding. But my aunt Bina just would continue explaining to me that
complaints don't get you anywhere. No one really listens to problems. And she was right.
I realize today that instead of complaining, we all need to take responsibility for what is happening around us. We need to take
action. We need to choose one way or another--not be non-committal. We need to invest our energy in helping our world, our neighbors, our family, and our close friends.
We can complain about injustice, abuse, cruelty to man and animals, laws, wars but protests do fall on deaf ears. We need to begin to formulate an action plan to deal with those things that matter to us.
Last night, I happened to turn the television on and became glued to the screen. I watched the movie “Big Miracle” about three grey whales trapped under thick ice in Alaska. A young, local newscaster saw the struggling father, mother, and baby whale stuck under the frozen water unable to
travel the 5 miles to swim to warmer waters. They literally had three days to help the whales survive; the little opening that was not frozen where the whales were trapped was destined to re-freeze and kill all three whales.
The newscaster filmed the plight of the whales and the reel made its way to national television stations. Greenpeace got involved; townsfolk rallied; the National Guard was called; Eskimos fought with others to saw through the ice to make holes and urge the whales to travel from hole to hole toward freedom. Finally the Soviets were called to help. Many of the people who rose up to assist the effort were at odds politically but they put their “complaints” aside and took on an impossible task.
There was a moment in the movie when one of the National Guard questioned why put men at risk when there were no people involved—just whales. I thought about this for a bit—why whales? Why animals?
When we question the “why”animals, I believe we have lost empathy for the creatures given to us to protect and love. We have lost the reason they are here for us. We have lost our greatness as a country; and morally we are devoid of courage andcompassion.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.