I am in that place where I am so deeply saddened and disheartened by the world that it hurts. It physically hurts. I don't know what else to say, other than that. My heart -- it just hurts, you know? There is such a long list of pain and suffering -- the list is too long to possibly think of making so I'm not going to try. It was a combination of an article I read about Syria today and the shooting in DC that put me just over the edge.
In my work, I have the ability, the privilege, and the honor of being able to assist people in a variety of ways. Maybe I help reduce problem behaviors. Maybe I help keep a family or a child safe. Maybe I hook them up with resources. Maybe I help them see each other more clearly. Or maybe, all I do is give them bus tokens at the end of a boring hour. I went into this work because it is the work that I love, and it is the work that fulfills me, and it is the work that I believe I am called to do. I went into this work because it is my passion, and because I hope to leave a small mark on that corner of the world to change it for the better. I like to believe...no, I can say that I know that I make a change in my families lives. It may not be a big change. It may not be all families. It may not be the change I thought I was going to make. It may not be lasting change. But it is change.
I believe that we all do what it is we are called to do and able to do in this life. For some people, it is performing life saving surgeries on thousands of people. For some people, it's going to other countries and providing assistance where it is needed. For some people, it's educating the next generation. For some, it's raising the next generation. For some, it's helping me check out at the grocery store. For me, it's working with children with developmental disabilities in a little corner of MD, and maybe writing some words about issues that make me angry or about gratitude. We're all interconnected, and necessary, and important.
And yet, in all of that doing and being and helping and interconnection, it's still just not enough. There is still so much hatred and evil and wrong. There is still so much suffering and illness and pain. There is so much that needs to be changed and so much that needs to be done, and I don't know how it's going to change. I don't know what can possibly happen that will change things in the way they need to be changed. I don't know what I can do to make that change happen. It's hard to just bear witness to pain and suffering (to the extent that I am able/willing). I do believe that bearing witness makes a difference. But it's not enough. I don't know what is enough, and I don't know how to get there. I'm not even sure of really how to have this conversation, because it's not about any one thing in particular. It's not just about guns, or about religion, or about poverty or race or ableism or violence against women. It's about the whole underlying issue of fear, and pain, and anger. It's about not knowing how we can move all of us from here to compassion. It's about knowing that we are so, so, so far from that goal, and knowing I'm just one person, and knowing that I'm just not smart enough, or enough of a "big-picture thinker" to have any sort of idea of what to do other than help that one family. Talk to that one kid. Sign that one petition. Write that one blog post that touches that one person. Save that one worm from the sidewalk.
So I keep talking. And helping. And writing. And signing. And saving worms. In spite of all that I want to do, these are the only things I actually know how to do. I have no choice but to keep doing them until the world doesn't need it, or until I can come up with a better plan.