I follow the Vlog Brothers on YouTube and watched Hank Greens recent video about happiness and making a difference in the world, he made a survey that asked people if they would rather be happy or make a difference, it was almost exactly a 50/50 split and people noted that they thought they could not be truly happy if they did not believe they had made, or were making, a difference. His point was that maybe we are putting too much pressure on ourselves not to just make a difference for the people around us but that we had to make a difference for the world.
It’s easy to understand, we are living in a world with big problems. Financial crises, unemployment, climate change, hunger and malnutrition, wage gaps, refugees, and wars. And sometimes when we start to care then we feel overwhelmed and decide not to care about anything. It often feels like it has to be all or nothing, if we aren’t fixing the worlds problems we aren’t doing enough and since we can’t fix the worlds problems, not alone, not today, then we don’t do anything.
I don’t believe I can end climate change or vaccinate all the babies who need it. I can feed my neighbor and have friends over for dinner on days when we all need a little lift and a little hope. I can volunteer at the soup kitchen and the community gardens and read and educate myself more about the issues the world is facing. But some days all you can do is feed the ones you love. And we shouldn’t think that that isn’t significant and important!
Friends of mine, and I’m sure friends of yours, are going through hard times right now, pets are dying, jobs are hard, employees are quitting, husbands and wives are far apart. And I can’t fix those problems either. No matter how much we hate to see the ones we love suffer we can’t always fix it. But we can send care packages full of granola bars and microwave meals, we can make soup and share it with those near and dear who are suffering. These aren’t little things, it’s making a difference, maybe only in the life of one or two people and that can seem insignificant. But those people are important and they influence others and the world is changed. Maybe not because world hunger was solved or we saved social security but because two friends ate together.