The time is always right to do what is right. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We all want to make a difference, don’t we? When we do something good we want good to come from it – we want to alleviate poverty, reduce suffering, save endangered species. But what if we don’t know if what we do will actually help? Or we know that our efforts are such a small drop in the ocean that their effect will be totally insignificant in the grand scheme of things? The rational response to this might be to stop doing the little good we do. But is this the right response?
‘But what difference will it make?’ is one of our biggest excuses for not doing what we know we should. It’s a good excuse too – we can never be absolutely sure that our donated money will reach the poor, and our individual carbon footprints are trivial compared to the magnitude of the global warming problem. So why bother? Why bother walking to school in the rain, why endure the uncertain weather of a holiday in Europe instead of a far-flung sunny shore, why write to an MP who we know is very unlikely to change his mind because of our email? The answer, for me, is that we should do what is right whatever the consequences. That we need to let go of the outcome of our efforts, to leave God, or history, to sort out the big picture, and simply to play our part with whatever limited time and power we have been given. Once we let go of our need to be successful, and embrace instead the desire to be faithful to what it means to be human, I do believe we will find joy in doing the right thing whatever.
And who knows, when all our efforts are added together, we may make a difference too.
Comments on "Whatever!"
This is lovely Ruth! I've asked for it to go into our parish mag. Martin