Things seem to be unraveling pretty quickly, am I right? Of course my parents have been thinking that for years. And their parents before them too. As it turns out things have been pretty bad for a long time. Well, actually, since practically the very beginning. Of man.
So, while I'm here wringing my hands and staying awake at night solving all of the world's problems instead of drifting off to sleep, I have to remind myself that I cannot solve all of the world's problems. I cannot.
Abortion, racial injustice, presidential candidates, poverty, parent-less children, terrorism, natural disasters, gun violence.
It's daunting. It's depressing.
I can't fix it.
But you know what I can do?
I can hold the door for the person behind me.
I can write an encouraging note to a friend who's down in the dumps.
I can smile at the person holding up the line at the checkout instead of frowning.
I can call my server by name.
I can get to know a stranger.
I can send a text just to check in.
I can stop being afraid.
I can pray. All day long.
I can learn as much as I can about as much as I can.
I can try to understand a different perspective.
I can high-five.
I can tell my representatives how I feel about it.
I can stop hoarding and share.
I can laugh with those who need to hear a joke.
I can listen to those who need an ear.
I can cry with those who have nothing left but tears.
I can withhold judgment and refrain from jumping to conclusions.
I can respond with grace instead of anger.
(And then...) I can apologize when I don't.
I can deliver a meal. Or at the very least, chocolate chip cookies.
I can stop to help. Or chat. Or dance to the Smokey Joe's Cafe soundtrack in my living room.
I can stop looking at "the big picture" and bring it down to a personal level so that it's not just "an issue" anymore. Instead it becomes the story of an individual, just like me, who is in the midst of very real, very serious, very unpleasant circumstances with some super hard choices.
I have a tendency to view situations as all or nothing. If I can't be all in and I can't do it to completion with an A+ result, I'm out. Forget it. But real life isn't like that. Sometimes you just have to dip your toes in. Do the first thing before the next thing. Intentions are great, but actually doing it is better. I get so distracted by the big picture that I forget that details matter. Small things can make a profound difference. It's probably best to start there.
How far that little candle throws his beams!Here's to being a candle. However small.
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant at Venice