VOICES: Each of us is in a position to help somebody and to make the world a little bit better

This guest opinion column by Dayton writer Sara Pearsaul Vice appeared on the Ideas and Voices page Sunday, Nov. 1. An editorial and other columns that printed that day are linked below.

“If I can help somebody, as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.”

As I prepared to sing in a quartet for the worship service at First Baptist Church last Sunday, our music director William Hendry Caldwell quoted these encouraging words to us from an old gospel song.

We were practicing the morning’s anthem standing socially distanced and I couldn’t help missing the days when the entire choir could sing together in a sanctuary full of the people we have come to love.

Credit: Samantha Thornton

Credit: Samantha Thornton

With the danger of the pandemic and the deep divisions in our country causing anxiety and separation, we were reminded that each of us is in a position to help somebody and to make the world a little bit better, a little bit kinder, and a little bit closer to peace.

We don’t have to wait for new leadership or a change in the political climate. We can spark the change we want to see, if we can set aside our differences and focus on the common good, on the needs we find closest to our homes and our hearts.

What will happen after the election?

No matter who wins, we will need to help each other. We will need to listen to the pain and the problems that others face. We will need to be open to our own role in causing racial and social injustice. We will need to reach across the divide and find ways to work together.

I admit it’s hard to reconcile with people whose beliefs are radically different than mine. I find it disheartening to see longtime friends share the words of politicians whom I find abhorrent or post snarky memes about my values on social media. If I hadn’t been the recipient of their kindness and help over the years, I could let the friendships lapse. But I refuse to let the fear mongers win. We have to come together for the common good or our divisions will lead to even more pain and suffering.

When I moved to Dayton 15 years ago, my husband and I chose to live downtown. We relish the energy and diversity of urban living. What we have received in return is a beautiful community of people who care about the future of our city, who care about one another, and who do what they can to make Dayton a better place. We certainly have our differences, but we can still help each other along the way.

Sara Pearsaul Vice is a freelance writer who has contributed to newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. She provides communications support to corporations, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations and is a singer with the Bach Society of Dayton. Guest columns are submitted or requested fact-based opinion pieces typically of 300 to 450 words. Have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at arobinson@daytondailynews.com.