Monday, July 28, 2008

On suffering, nobility, and candy canes

OK, I really wasn't planning to write anything more tonight. But... well, this girl Amy who liked my idea seems like she's having a down day (from her blog post), not believing in heaven and reflecting on the suffering of the world, and that sucks. That's one thing I don't like about my idea - it questions things like free will and prayer and heaven, which bring a lot of comfort to a lot of people. Having any part in taking that comfort away is hard, and I hate to do it. (Of course, I'm probably egotistical and have nothing to do with this particular post, but still I feel bad even so...)

So here's what I do, when I think about all of the suffering in the world.

1. I remember how little control I have. It sounds like that's exactly the wrong thing to do when you're thinking of the problems of the world, but here's how it works. You have to remember that nobody can expect you to fix the world. All you can be expected to do, and all you can reasonably expect of yourself, is to do your part. And doing that, particularly when you don't feel like it, is almost noble. Absorbing the negativity of the world and putting out some positivity in its place really is an important thing to do. Kind of like a little gift to the world.

2. I think about how much of a difference I can make. Sure, I can't cure poverty or cancer, or even get people to be nice to each other most times. But if you're not expecting it, you'd be surprised how much of a difference a small friendly gesture can make. And honestly, one ten cent candy cane one down day around Christmas, from a classmate I barely knew, turned my whole view of generosity around. It's something I'll never forget. So when I'm feeling powerless and small and sad, I try to go out and do something for someone, that they might not be expecting. And then I think about how that little bit of goodness spreads out from its source. I find that helps.


Soul Pockets said...

I think those are wonderful ideas. Your post reminds me of what Mother Theresa said...

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters. -Mother Theresa
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."-Mother Theresa

I believe our little actions do add up to great things, but it is easier to just focus on the little gestures of kindness, one at a time.

Anonymous said...

Well said, and very true. Thanks for trying to "cheer me up!" I hope you accomplish your goals with this blog -- good luck to you!