Being the Saturnight before I leave for Malaysia/Thailand (on Monday), I’ve been frantically trying to tie up loose ends. As I was going through my drawer of ‘Stuff I’ll look at later’ (a drawer which contains documents from early last year), I found a few sheets of newspaper someone had handed to me. It was about human rights in China, and how the Olympic should be encouraging national standards of social justice. The stories I read broke my heart. I thought of all the thousands of people who were being unrighteously imprisoned, extraordinary levels of censorship (journalism is the third most dangerous job in the country, next to policing and something else) and things of the sort. It made me recall the ruckus people bring up- customers at work give us hell for not stocking a certain deodorant, or not having any Kit-e-cat left. They complain about being ripped off an extra 30 cents for a packet of biscuits, they tell their friends not to shop at Coles.
People in China are dying. And if they revolt, mass imprisonment and murder, which is swept under the rug by the government. I won’t pretend to know anything about the way China’s run, but if half the stories in that newspaper are true, it’s almost beyond hope. I don’t know what "it" is- China, social justice, humankind in general, but it truly is heartbreaking. As I sat at my desk, forcing myself to read article after article, to better know the state of the world, I cried. I don’t know what to do. Hundreds of thousands of people are having everything stolen from them, and I’m still running around trying to find Pepsi Max for someone who doesn’t particularly want it. The problems I tackle are nothing compared to what’s happening around the world. And if I showed the same care and dedication to the problems of every single person on the planet, it would overwhelm and quite possibly kill me.
It’s about there that I remembered the World Vision booklet I’d also found in the drawer. The quote at the very end of the booklet gave me chills for minutes as I sat there and thought about it.
"I can’t do everything for everybody, but I can do something for somebody."
-Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision.
There are so many problems in the world, so many things that need help. I’ve always found it hard to work with other people- I prefer doing things my way, in my time. Still, it cannot be denied that the greatest accomplishments of humankind have always been in groups- the united people are stronger than any challenge. I can’t change the world. Martin Luther King could not change the world- he inspired others to. I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to be a figurehead, but even if I donated all my money, even if I became a social worker, even if I did volunteer to clean up the environment, I will never be able to save everyone. But I can make a difference to a precious few with these finite years I have been given.
If you care about the world you live in, I ask you with utmost sincerity to do your part. I don’t care how you do it- donate blood, sponsor a child, give a charity $2 instead of 20c. Hell, say "bless you" when someone sneezes- it’ll brighten their day a little. All I ask is that you help make the world a better place. Once again in the words of George Eliot, What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?