On Simple, Small Solutions to Big, Complicated Problems...

There was a time when I was much more concerned with the news about the world, but at some point I realized that to pay too much attention to it was to fill myself with a deep sense of despair and hopelessness at how truly cruel and atrocious we human beings can be to one another.

Because it is horror and atrocity more often than not that make news, and understandably so. We want to believe that peace and humanity are the norm, the other stuff news...

And mostly, I believe that it is. I believe that if the other stuff were the norm, we would have cannibalized ourselves long ago.

But that doesn't ever seem to mitigate the horror of something like this, which I know is but one of many dark hells of the global human condition.

It doesn't ever do much to quell my conscience that it happens, is allowed to happen, and that it is for a strange grace of the Universe that I am not living in it.

But the truth is that I don't believe it is my personal purpose in life to focus my energies primarily and directly on such issues - there are others who are far more passionate, qualified, and equipped to be more involved, as I am about other matters. And yet I also don't believe that any life should be lived without some aim and effort to somehow lessen that kind of ugliness in the world.

I believe that we are all here and able to make a good difference no matter our primary missions in life or how we spend most of our hours earning our keep.

So this morning as I read about the violence and atrocity in Syria and began to feel my heart sink into despair for my impotence to make it better, I came across this quote:

"So the small things came into their own: small acts of helping others, if one could; small ways of making one's own life better: acts of love, acts of tea, acts of laughter. Clever people might laugh at such simplicity, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?"

~ Alexander McCall Smith, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive

It's easy to think less of our tiny spheres of influence, and the truth is that most of our spheres of influence will be just that: tiny. The world is a big place, much of it far away from us. And most of us will have the privilege to touch only the teeniest, tiniest percentage of the over 7 billion lives with whom we share Earth during our time here.

But as with the worst of life, the best things of life - like love, warmth, kindness, compassion, understanding and laughter - even in their tiniest manifestations, have a way of radiating, multiplying, spreading, and somehow increasing our tiny spheres of influence, sometimes far beyond our imagining. Or, as we say in our digital age, going viral.

This is not to kid ourselves that some good little thing we do where we are today will somehow magically erase the brutality and cruelty of life elsewhere, but to remind us that we have it in our power to do good things, right where we are, every day, with ease even, that can improve the ratio of good to bad on Earth, moment by moment.

And that if we have anything to do with changing that ratio for good anywhere, then no matter how remotely, we have something to do with overcoming some of the bad everywhere.

No matter our season or station in life, good, simple, small acts are always a solution.



  1. I liked your blog and the way you have highlighted and discussed the issue. I am a regular visitor of your website and always find interesting stuff on your website. keep sharing more


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