Simply extraordinary

I have written and rewritten these few paragraphs this week, lamenting the horrors of the war in Syria, the descent of civil discourse in US politics and the foibles of our own obsession with "the media" as if we, as consumers, are blameless for the words and images we see and hear. But I can't seem to write it all down coherently. It's so overwhelming. It's so distressing. How can one person make any impact at all against this onslaught of killing, vitriol and finger-pointing? Sometimes I wish I could just wash it all away.

We don't live in an easy world now. Economic, political, religious and natural challenges are in every corner. What's a person to do? What can I do? What can you do? The only answer I can come up with is this: Keep it simple.

In your world, in your life, on your block, just do the best you can do. I realize that sounds ridiculously ineffective. It won't be the first time I've been accused of being a Pollyanna. Truth is, I hope it's not the last.

As huge as the world is and as seemingly endless her problems, there really is little else to do besides doing your best right where you are. Think of the people who did that, never thinking they would have an effect on the world: Malala Yusofzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rosa Parks, Ryan White... the list goes on and on and on. These are all ordinary people who, through their own efforts and beliefs or simply because they dealt with what life handed them, made a huge impact on the world. They weren't necessarily trying to. In fact, they were simply doing what they felt they could do at the time. In their own life, on their own block.

Most of them were just keeping it simple. You may also be just "an ordinary person" but you can do extraordinary things. Be the change you want to see in the world. If you're very lucky, you may live to see the world changed because of you. More likely, though: the people you love and help will have their world changed -- because of you.