I think, write, and talk a lot about changing the world for the better. The fact that we are on this earth living and breathing for a number of years should make a positive difference, I think. It will if we remember (as someone shared with me recently) that we should be like a hollow reed – it’s not about us, it’s about what comes through us, and our job is to keep ourselves clean on the inside, free of judgments and fears and self promotion.
Yesterday, however, I found myself just wanting to shut out the world, curl up on the couch with a book or a movie, and forget that my mother needed her medications set up for the week. There’s nothing wrong with nurturing yourself; in fact, I consider it essential for a healthy life, but here I am having to give myself a little pep talk to do this simple, little thing that would maybe take a half an hour.
My mother is 90 years old and lives along in an apartment – not an assisted living facility. They serve meals, and she goes to the dining room for her noon meal, but other than that she has no outside help.
So here I was on a Sunday afternoon with a wonderfully fragrant stew in the slow-cooker wanting to forget about everyone but myself. Of course, I went to visit my mother, set up her medications, turn her clock an hour head, take out her garbage, and bring her some of the stew I had made.
As I sat there, I thought about what a difference a short visit and some warm food and loving attention can make in the life of an elderly person who lives alone. And, yes, it took a little bit of energy on my part, but I think I received more energy in return and the joy that comes from getting outside of yourself.
Sometimes changing the world means I do the task that is set before me with love and compassion. It may be just the beginning, but if I ignore the needs that are right in front of my face or do the task grudgingly, how can I expect to do greater things?