It’s easy to point out all the problems of the world, but impossible to solve them.
Hopelessness ensues…

We are told from the time we are very young that we can ‘change the world’ if we really try and that’s almost total bullshit insofar as it means one person can make a significant difference to millions or billions of people. A very few of us can, but most of us can’t, and we recognize that we’re not Jonas Salk, Louis Pasteur, Norman Borlaug, Bill Gates…
But we are who we are and nothing else. And, really, that’s enough.

There is a well told story about starfish and a little boy on a beach that illustrates that grandly. I case you’ve never heard or read it, let me give you a synopsis:

There once was a little boy walking down a beach after a storm the night before. Littered on the sand as far as the eye could see were stranded starfish that were washed ashore in the turbulent high tide of the storm and left to die as the tide receded in the bright sunshine of the new day afterward. An old man, wise to the ways of the world, was watching the little boy and noticed that the boy was walking along and bending down to pick up one starfish at a time and then throw it as hard as he could back in the ocean. The old man recognized in the boy the idealism of youth that he had lost so many decades ago. He smiled a sad smile and approached the boy.
“Son! What are you doing there throwing those starfish in the sea?”
“I’m saving them from certain death. They washed ashore in the storm and will die if I don’t help”
“Son, you realize that there are thousands of starfish as far as the eye can see both hither and yon and you’ll never save them all. For every one you save, hundreds will die. You’ll never save them all. What difference does it make?”
The boy reaches down and picks up another starfish, shows it to the old man, and says,
“I know I can’t save them all, but to this starfish, I make all the difference in the world.” and he throws it as hard as he can into the sea.
I have always been fascinated with people and the way their lives endlessly swing from fortune to loss. I recognize that I am no different except my fortunes and losses may be different than theirs at any given time. But, I’m lucky in that I know my purpose in the world (at least as far as it is possible to know such) – I am here to fix what I can that needs fixing. The problem is, that pretty much only applies to machines and systems and stuff. I’m useless as tits on a boar hog for fixing the affairs of man. Sickness, strife, death, anger, despair, betrayal…I got nothing.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a positive effect on things I can’t fix.

In social media and in real life, we get to experience, almost in real time, the sorrow and heartache of those we care about when they suffer. And, at the end of the year, we get to see it all brought back up as they talk about how much they have lost in the past year. At the same time, we are thinking about our losses from days, weeks, months, or years passed, and though our empathy for others may be genuine, it sometimes feels worn out and hollow. They want comfort and we know we can only offer well intentioned platitudes and then we feel somehow useless. There is so much suffering and so little I can do about any of it…

You know how when you’re struggling with something and you’re losing ground, a little rest bit can renew your strength to fight on? Sometimes, that’s all you need to keep trudging through the hard times – a little rest. A break.
I have found that when someone experiences an unexpected bout of laughter – no matter how short in duration, that it is impossible for them to focus on, or even think about, bad stuff. It gives them a break. Even a chuckle, if heart-felt lessens the load for a few seconds.
Sometimes, that’s all that is needed.

People say to “make someone smile” everyday. I’m good with that, but if you can make them laugh…even if you have to make them laugh at you, you are doing your part to make the world a better place. Even if you say or do something that someone may find offensive in some degree, someone else may find rest in it. I would never do anything with the intent to offend, but I’ll damn sure do something that needs to be done, regardless of the potential for offense.
Hint: You can ALWAYS find someone who will be offended by anything you do, so quit worrying about it.

Don’t be ‘in your face’ about it, but try to make someone laugh at least once a day. Even a chuckle. You will succeed here or there and, at least to one person in the world, you will be remembered as someone who helped when it was needed.

You are not going to fix the bad stuff in the world, but with a little effort, you can bring the good stuff to the top. And you can lessen a load from someone who desperately needs their load to be lessened.
The worst (and best) part of it is, you will probably never know when you have made the biggest difference you have ever made in someone’s life. You just have to have faith that you made a difference.

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