I struggle with this. When I was a little kid I gave away many of my family’s things to the poor and the nuns because I was so affected by their plight; I also gave away all my lunch money and starved myself until I was so sick I was hospitalized. I would be so affected by the plight of the world to the point that I would freeze and lock up from a flood of empathy and frustration that I could not save the dying babies, the elephants, the abused girls and women, the refugees, the so so many who are in need of help.
Today, I do what I can in my community, but I know it’s not enough. It will never be enough. I try to teach my own children empathy, to do the right thing, to help those in need.
I used to live among the poor, the homeless, abused, displaced. I played with those kids. But I was lucky to obtain a good education — most of them were not. I also had opportunities, while for most of them, their lives will be lived under bridges or among garbage. They were envious of and happy for me. I remember one or two of them saying to me: Live a good life for us. Do us that honor.
The plight of the world… our history of destruction, greed, manipulation. This constant tug of war between “good” and “bad” with no side clearly winning. I don’t have the answers when it comes to a worldwide solution to all our ills and problems. Only more questions. And if I let it, sadness, outrage, hopelessness, and inaction. To myself and to my kids, I say, just do what you can, do what is right, live with grace and gratitude, respect all life, respect our home, this planet.