As a younger woman I had grand plans to save the world, or at least try very hard to be a big part in doing great good in a big way. I simply knew and sensed that I was one of those people who had a role to play. Of course I wasn’t quite sure what that role was or what direction I was meant to follow, just that I was going to “do good” and have it matter.
Maybe because I was so undirected, or maybe because life simply got in the way, I stand here now and look back and see that nothing monumental ever happened in the course of my life with regards to making the world a better place. I never went into the Peace Corps as I had hoped, never helped refugee families, never donated tons of time to the poor or hungry.
But the other day I realized that maybe I need to look at my life from a different angle, a slightly different perspective to see that while I didn’t move mountains, each grain of sand that I did move counted.
Having tried in my way to be kind and generous to friends, and sometimes even to people I may not even known, I believe counted for a lot. As cliché as it may seem, each act of generosity we pay forward has ripple effects. They may not make the papers or even be noticed by the throngs, but if they are felt by the receiver, than that act is big.
Human to human kindness is all that ultimately matters in the long run. You need not go across the ocean to show it. You can stand up for what’s right all the time. An act of compassion can happen in the back of an ambulance as well as in Africa and will count just as much. A smile or word of comfort when needed touches the human heart.
It struck me too that no-one is really measuring what is better, or who is more kind. It all counts. Every act of recycling, being green, vegetarianism, eating grass-fed/free range animals, social justice, peace, love–no matter where you are, who you are or how ‘small’ the gesture helps towards the good of humankind.
So I will no longer beat myself up that I didn’t do all the amazing things that I figured destiny would bring me, because maybe I’ve really been doing them right along every single day.