Something Small or Nothing at All

August 27, 2021

When the world becomes as horrifying and tragic as it feels right now, I tend to despair and retreat. Realistically, what can I possibly do to ease the suffering of people in Haiti or Afghanistan? To comfort the family grieving for someone lost to COVID? I’ve been paralyzed by the scope of need, and by feeling personally burned out to the point where I feel unable to do anything.

My inconveniences and irritations pale in comparison to the genuine suffering around me. It feels almost sacrilegious to seek and write about happiness. But I know the life I have is a gift, and I don’t want to waste it. Here are a few thoughts I’ve been pondering as I try to take in what is happening in the world, and figure out what I can do to help others as well as live my own precious gift of a life to the fullest. Maybe you will find some inspiration or comfort from these words, too.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”—Marie Curie


“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, ‘What else could this mean?’”—Shannon L. Alder


“If it is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn’t it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived?”—Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome


“When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.”—Thich Nhat Hahn


“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”—Leo Tolstoy

“Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.”—Krista Tippett


“Worry is useful when it changes our behavior in productive ways. The rest of the time, it's a negative form of distraction, an entertainment designed to keep us from doing our work and living our lives.”—Seth Godin


“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”—Theodore Roosevelt


And finally,

“We think the choice is between doing something big or something small. But really, it’s between doing something small or nothing at all.”—Lorenzo Gravina, “The Value of Doing a Little.” 

(Note: this quote is specifically referring to developing habits, but it’s applicable to many other situations!) 

What small thing can you do today to promote happiness and positivity?

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  1. Kathy you do something wonderful every time you write a post that sends encouragement into each of those who visit. As always these quotes are powerful and worth pondering. In times like these we all find it difficult to be carefree and happy but if we are doing something to help another perhaps we find true happiness and joy. Your blog is one of those things that does something to help us. God Bless - Hugs!

    1. Debbie--Thank you so much for your thoughtful, kind comment. It really made my day. Thank you for taking the time to visit. Hope all is well with you.

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  3. What else could this mean?

    Wise words.