Most of us would feel happy and fulfilled in doing something that would somehow benefit or improve the world. But when we begin to seriously consider some of the problems that confront our world, our country, our communities and our families, we can be easily overwhelmed.
Where are you going to start to bring about change? Think about the number of homeless people in this country. Think about the millions of young people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction worldwide. Think about women who suffer psychological and physical abuse from their spouse. Think about racism, where a select group of people are mistreated and denied of fundamental human privileges simply because they reincarnated with a "wrong" complexion for the time. Think about the children of the world who are malnourished, abandoned or are not receiving adequate education. How about unemployment and poverty? How about the gay and lesbian issues? How about religious intolerance?
How are you going to begin to solve the problems of the world and make the world a better place?
Frankly, when you think about this seriously, the weight of it can be so heavy that you don’t even want to consider carrying that kind of weight in your mind. Because of this, many people do nothing. Why? Because they reason, "Even if I help one young person get off drugs, or even if I help one homeless person clean up and become a viable, responsible human being, what difference is that going to make? After all, there are still millions of people afflicted with the same deplorable condition. So, why bother?"
I was fortunate enough to come across a magnificent story that you may have already heard. This story is worth retelling, because it clearly demonstrates that every little thing we do for someone makes a difference to that person.
At the first glimmer of light of dawn in a distant Pacific island, a young man walked at the edge of the seashore. There had been an unusual storm the night before, and he knew this would be a good morning to find seashells. With pants rolled up above his ankles, he walked along looking down for what treasures he might find.
Then, the young man looked up and could barely make out a figure of a very old man ahead of him. The young man watched as the old man bent down to pick up an object from the sand, and toss it into the surf. As he got closer, and the light of morning began to turn the sand pink, he noticed that the old man was picking up starfish that had been tossed up on the beach by the storm. Thousands of them had filled the sand, but one by one the old man was picking them up and tossing them back into the surf.
Nearing the old man, the young man introduced himself, and said, "Excuse me sir. I have been watching you from a distance for the last half hour. Do you realize how many starfishes are out here? Even if you manage to save 100 of them, what difference would that make? Thousands would still die."
The old man smiled compassionately and looked at the young boy, then picked up another starfish. As he gently tossed it back into the surf, he said to the young boy, "I certainly made a difference to that one, didn’t I, son?"
The old man did make a difference, just as you and I can make a difference in someone’s life – wherever we are.
Let us not allow the enormity of our world problems to overwhelm us. Simply identify an area where you can be effective and do what you can. Even if it means just calling your parents or grandparents to say hello after a long period of silence. You can volunteer for a cause significant to you, or just to be kinder to people. There are simple ways you can help change the world. Sometimes we think that we have to wait until we are able to make a big and memorable contribution. What we often don’t realize is that, in the final analysis, it is the little things that we do in life that matter so much. It is our meaningful involvement with our family, friends and neighbors that add meaning to life. It is also our gifts of kindness and generosity to people who we don’t even know that sustains life itself, for that is love in action.
May the blessings be!