The other day, a friend of mine who blogs privately wrote about receiving a letter from her grandmother's best friend. Despite her grandmother having long passed away, her friend continues to write encouraging, uplifting, "I'm proud of you" kind of notes to my friend. In describing this for those of us who read her blog, my friend wrote, "It sort of chokes me up; it feels so nice when I often don't feel like anything I do is right by anyone anymore." I'll come back to this in a moment.
I think it's important to stay on top of what's going on in the world and to read or watch as many news and information sources as possible in an effort to get the whole story, but in truth, the news often depresses me. I tire of reading about human cruelty, government sponsored despotism, the degradation of democracy, murder and mayhem, child abuse, and the like. Like my friend who blogs privately, I, too, want to crawl under the covers, shutter all the windows, make like Howard Hughes in the desert (only without the crazy element), and just hide.
I often think, "Does any of it matter? Do I matter?" I often feel like regardless of what I do--whether it's help my next door neighbor carry in his groceries, spend a day putting up rooms full of wallboard with my dad, tutor an inner city kid, pick up litter, donate to a cause, or whatever--it doesn't make a difference in the overall scheme of humanity and decency and helpfulness. And even though I've advocated for greener living--I want to believe that recycling and using energy saving appliances and transportation really makes a difference for the earth and its inhabitants--I'm not as certain as a citizen of the most consumerist nation in the world that it's going to stick or be sustainable.
And that leads me back to my friend who blogs privately and the sentiments we share. Were it not for a few well-placed people in our lives, we might succumb to the despair, climb under the covers, shutter the windows, and make like Howard Hughes (without the crazy.) In other words, we might resign ourselves to the belief that the world really is going to hell in a handbasket and none of us--including me, myself, and I--can make a difference.
But then, things like notes from the lifelong friend of a grandmother restore my faith in humanity. Or, yesterday, the email I had from a friend telling a group of us that his mother's cancer has come back and she is dying. He wrote, "I don't know why I'm writing this exactly... but I thought I would... I dunno... share or something like that." This is a big, burly, manly man of a friend with the soul of a lion and the heart of a child. In his time of sadness he was being vulnerable and saying, "I can't bear this burden alone" and in reaching out to us, he asked us to make a difference. To feel like we matter. Because to him, we do.
You'll note that this entry's title begins with "In the BIN." As many of you know, when I title an entry like that, I'm usually highlighting a variety of really notable blog entries I've read or websites I've found recently. Not this time. This time, I want to highlight one website only. If you feel like nothing you do matters to anyone anymore or you have ideas about how to make a difference, but you need some inspiration to realize them, or you want to know that the world isn't just all bad news, don't waste another minute here. Go here and realize what's possible.
There's a new story every day, so even if you feel like you can't achieve what today's noted person is doing, there are stories to inspire you. This is one of my favorites.