I am increasingly sad about the state of the world in general. The planet is gasping. Human beings are rated in a hierarchy based on race, ethnicity, religion, and in this country, at least, political parties. Our most cherished traditions are fraying at the edges. Human relations are becoming more transactional and less spiritual. And I can hear you saying, “Tell me something I don’t already know!” Because while all of these problems have existed for eons, they’ve never been so obvious. Any progress seems to be one step forward, two steps back. And living in the 24/7 news cycle puts these issues front and center of your world constantly. Whew!
So. when people say, “The World Is A Mess!”, I can’t disagree. I have often said the same thing! The trouble is that by making that statement (followed by a shrug of the shoulders or turning up the palms) I may feel better for having unburdened myself of the built-up frustration, but the implication is:
“What can you do?!”
I was thinking about that this morning after having been bombarded with yet another horrible bit of news on the radio. I just turned it off, and I started to talk to myself – Out loud, by the way. “Well, what can you do?” And then I started answering my own question.
No. I can’t force President Shi and President Biden to come to terms. I can’t single-handedly clean up the oceans. I can’t create understanding between the political extremes. I can’t broker peace between Russia and Ukraine. But. . .
I can extend my hand to a neighbor who needs help. I can write a sweet song. I can pet someone’s old dog. I can plant a tree. I can give a little money to someone who is unhoused and hungry. I can help register voters. I can swap out paper napkins for cloth ones. I can say a kind word to someone who doesn’t share my beliefs. I can walk somewhere instead of driving. I can send a card to a friend who is hurting. The list is endless! So, the next time you find yourself, like me, asking “What Can You Do?!” – Answer yourself. You may be surprised! I was.
© Robin Munson