I look forward to my weekly dose of mindless TV, aka American Idol. One hour of listening to singers, criticizing their song choice, clothing, hair style, etc. while enjoying the comments from Simon. Ah, pure, snarky bliss.
But no, not tonight. Tonight was their charity night. A two hour episode filled with stories of children living in poverty, some now orphans after their parents died, unable to attend school, and dying from preventable diseases.
I’m 36 weeks pregnant, carrying more hormones in my body than a national sorority convention combined with the entire steroid-enhanced WWE wrestling roster.
So it’s no surprise I bawled my eyes out, and yet could not stop watching.
Of course, this was clearly part of the show’s design. By tugging on our heartstrings, they knew people would open their wallets to give to a very worthy cause.
But now I’m haunted by the images. One video showed a mother travelling to get help for her baby, who was dying from malaria. Ryan’s voice-over then gave the news that they didn’t get there in time, and the baby died. Another video told the story of a mother of two children, too sick to even walk, who died two days later from AIDS. They interviewed a twelve year old boy who had lost his parents and now was the head of the household and responsible for taking care of his sister.
I’m not naive. I know there are children dying every day from disease and starvation, living in horrible conditions and forced to endure nightmarish situations every day. However, in my overly emotional state, I can only see those poor children, and want to reach out and take every one of them in, wipe away their tears, hold them close and tell them it will all be OK.
But we can only do what we can do. I can’t save them all. I can help when possible, encourage others to also help when they can, and know that even a little bit of help can go a long way. And I can teach Cordy how lucky she is to have her family, to be healthy, and to be able to go to school when she’s older. I am thankful for what we do have, even if we live under a tight budget and don’t have the luxuries some do. It’s my hope that Cordy will want to help others when she’s older, too.
So damn you, Idol. I didn’t want to spend this evening feeling so small in such a big world of need. But the message did get through, and though my eyes are puffy and red now, I did enjoy the music. Hopefully a lot of money was raised, and that money will do a lot of good.
I’d just like to add, though, that you’re lucky none of your singers wanted to sing “Danny Boy” or the heavy sobs might have sent me into labor. (Danny Boy was a song we sang in high school choir, but we had to sing it for a state competition just days after one of our classmates collapsed and died at school from a congenital heart defect. I’ve never been able to listen to that song since then.)