The big life does not mean there will never be difficulties and setbacks. It simply means when those things happen a big life person takes a deep breath, dusts himself off and then gets immediately back to the things that define what true big living is all about.
For me, a big part of big living is a commitment to fight for the underdog in every battle. Let me give you a few examples.
I know many of my LGBT friends who are frightened because a new president has been elected who will appoint judges to the Supreme Court who can take their equal rights away if they so choose. My gay friends have fought too long and hard to just have the same rights that I have. Their equality is not on the table for discussion. I will fight for equal rights for my LGBT friends and all people in our country. That is big living.
Before the advent of the Affordable Care Act, I knew hard working people who lost their jobs and insurance when their companies decided to downsize. Because they had preexisting medical conditions, they could not buy insurance from anyone. Thankfully the laws were passed making it illegal to turn down someone for insurance just because they had a preexisting condition. To take that away from people is unkind and does not reflect the goodness of our country. I will fight for people’s rights to buy affordable health care regardless of their health. Fighting for that is big living.
I have many Mexican friends who came here decades ago. They have faithfully worked and contributed to our country. They have bought homes here. They have raised their families here. Their families are some of the best I have ever known. They are humble hard working people who have never ask for anything but a chance to work – and work hard. If they were given a chance to pay a fine and then have a permit to work here until they could become documented they would do it. My dad told me when I was a little boy that if a river separated him from a chance to take care of his family, he would swim the river. He told me to always respect the men and women who came here to provide a better life for their families. I will fight with all that is in me to keep law abiding Mexicans from being rounded up and pulled from their homes, families and friends. To me to fight for my Mexican brothers and sisters is big living.
In Atlanta, I know and am friends with some people who are Muslims. They love our country and are a vital part of the fabric of our nation. They cannot help the fact that ISIS and al–Qaeda both claim they are representative of Islam. I will stand with my Muslim friends when they are attacked unfairly. I would hope no one should judge me because of the craziness of christian groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. We are not the same. I will fight against broad brush attacks on a religion just because a small percentage of evil people do evil things. I will love and embrace Muslims. It’s what big lives do.
I have African American friends who feel their lives have not mattered to many. History shows how easily blacks have been scapegoated for problems in our society. No one can deny they have for most of our nation’s history been treated as less than human. Things are better now but it is naive to think there is not deep racism that still runs through many in our society. Institutional racism is real. So, I will stand with my African American brothers and sisters and fight for them being treated equal in every way. And I will let them know their lives matter. To do less than that would cause my heart to shrink and I want my heart to stay BIG.
Big living isn’t about being rich with money. Big living is about being rich in love. Big living is about standing up for those who are marginalized. Big living is about truly empathizing with others. Someone very wise, who lived a very big life said, we should put ourselves in another’s place and then do for them what we would want them to do for us. I think that’s called the one rule that is golden. It’s what true big living is all about.