Written by Sue Peterson, Program Director
With all the violence and unfairness in the world a person can get discouraged and even feel helpless. I myself feel overwhelmed at times. The world – both abroad, domestically, and even locally – has deep and challenging problems affecting so many people. Underlying issues are momentous to tackle. What I do can’t possibly matter, can it? I am just one.
When I was a little girl traveling with my sister, mom and dad, we drove through an impoverished area of Georgia. This was in the 60s so those of you who know your history will remember that this was a very miserable time in the south for black people. Treated unlawfully and violently I am sure there were few who saw a way out of that dark time.
As we drove, my young eyes were frozen by the tiny shanties some were living in. Tarpaper roof and worn through walls. Occasionally, an old chair in front. I couldn’t take it in. I had never seen such abject poverty. Even in my youngest years I felt disturbed by how little some had compared to “most people.” This was the first time I remember my heart beginning to look beyond having, and on to giving. I was experiencing humility for the first time in my life.
The older I got, the more I could see that I wasn’t up to tackling the world’s problems. Yet I could see that each one of us who reaches out to help the hurting and the poor fills in one piece of a greater puzzle. We choose to contribute to the cause of loving our neighbor. I discovered if I chose to pay attention, I would find someone crossing my path – every day – needing empathy or help. I could help that one, one at a time, one day at a time.
When I forget, I often experience someone else showing kindness. I remember this: it’s the kindnesses that show the way out of life’s dark hours. It certainly has been the case for me, and I am grateful for those kindnesses. What will you choose today? Be the light to someone today. We change the world when we “offer no great thing but small things with great love.” Thank you Mother Teresa.