Posts Tagged ‘floods’

News Blues

June 6, 2011

A fellow worker once told me how he solved his depression problem. He said he had been a country music fan, but he finally realized that the sad stories told in country music were causing his depression. He said he stopped listening and stopped being depressed.  Well, just think about the stories being fed to us constantly by news media.   They give us a constant stream of all of the horrible and unjust things going on in the world, about man’s inhumanity to man, his proclivity to stay at war, his greed,  the wrath of nature with its more powerful tornadoes,  hurricanes,  forest fires, melting ice caps, rising oceans, plagues and famines.  Maybe they will throw in a warm and fuzzy tale at the end of a newscast to try to keep people from feeling either depressingly sad or mad after watching the news,  and that may work some, but it’s overpowered by the rest of the newscast.

 I can’t give it up altogether, but I can cut back and that’s what I have done. Admittedly, I opt for escapism.  I watch American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance, and I can understand why so many millions of others do, also.

I read more novels that I did in the past – though I also throw in some history books because I am a history buff – and I watch movies, and still go to movie theaters, and I watch the Braves occasionally (though, that can be depressing, too) and I go to music concerts, and plays, and am now more inclined to watch comedies. Life is tough enough without my spending time on made up tragedies.

Earning my living by reporting the news on television and radio, it’s hard for me to come to the conclusion that if I want to be less depressed I should stop watching, listening and reading the news. But, to be honest I have come to that conclusion. 

I can’t give it up altogether, though. One does need to know what’s happening because it can have a direct effect. Take the sad story – well, sad for me and everyone else but the 8-figure oil company executives and people who own tons of oil stocks – of the price of gasoline.  I can’t ignore that because I must have gasoline. Still, there is a sense of helplessness about it, because the only thing I can do about it is drive less. If enough of us would do that, and stop buying gas guzzler SUVs and monster pickup trucks that are rarely used as trucks, and slow down, we could perhaps affect the price of gasoline some, but basically that’s not happening.

Bottom line: no, I can’t give up keeping up.  That’s really not a smart thing to do. But, I don’t have to spend all day wallowing in the horrors of the world, and I’m not going to. 

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Seeking Happiness? Try Volunteering

November 19, 2009

When charities most need money, they get less.  When the stock market goes south in recessions, so does philanthropical giving.  However, as reported in Time magazine by Nancy Gibbs, there is a bright side to this. She writes, “Americans may have less money – charitable giving in current dollars dropped for the first time in 20 years in 2008 – but about a million more people volunteered their time to a cause.”   She goes on to point out that the 8 of the 10 happiest states in the counrty also come in first in the top 10 for volunteering. She says money can buy comfort, but not contentment, that happiness correlates more with our connections and causes than with how much money we have.

Don deRoche, Red Cross Disaster Chair, holding the Dan Reed Rotary Service Above Self Trophy

That brings me to a man who must have discovered that a long time ago, because he has been giving a lot of his time to the Red Cross over the years.  Don deRoche is a retired Army major and civil service worker, who is now the Diasaster Chairman for the Red Cross in the Columbus area.  When disaster hits, he goes to the scene, determines what aid is needed and reports it to the Red Cross, which then goes to work supplying disaster relief. He does it for nothing but the satisfaction  of helping people when things go  very bad for them.

And he doesn’t do it just in our area.  Recently he went to Macon when a tornado struck there, and he went to Atlanta when flooding caused a lot of hardship for a lot of people.

There were tears in his eyes when he went up to accept the Rotary Club of Columbus’ Dan Reed Rotary Service Above Self Award.  The former Infantry combat veteran who served in the Vietnam War is passionate about helping people laid low by disasters.  He said that he went out to the site of a home that had been destroyed in Columbus a few nights ago. The resident of that destroyed home had no money to take a taxi to get to a shelter for the night. deRoche said that he reached into his own pocket and gave the man taxi fare, explaining that the Red Cross doesn’t give aid in that form.  He said that he was happy to do it. The club gives the award to one person each  year who has perfomed outstanding service for the Columbus community.  Club President Bob Jones said, “Columbus needs more people like Don deRoche.”  The world needs more people like Don deRoche.

Maybe you are thinking, do you practice what you preach?  Well, I do some volunteer work for some causes I support, but I am certainly not in the league with Don deRoche. Maybe I should do more. Maybe I will. It does provide satisfaction because I think Nancy Gibbs got it right when she said connections and causes correlate more with happiness than our net worth.