I don’t wish to list the terrible things that happen daily.
They are easy enough to see. Almost every day, I wonder what the few things I can do to help all this suffering that make any sense or are remotely practical in my life.
I work with the Mansion residents. I work with refugee children. I work with the Army Of Good. I try to do a good thing at least once every day.
They are, by definition, small things, small acts of great kindness.
Every time I look at the news, I shake my head and wonder at my sense of impotence.
Is that enough? It sometimes seems that violence and suffering are expanding way behind my capacity to make a difference and sometimes make me feel useless, helpless, and discouraged.
That is always a discouraging and pointless line of thought. I am not God or any God, and I do not have the power to turn the lives of the angry, wounded, and impoverished people around.
It would be hubris to the extreme to think I had any gifts to do that.
Thinking like that can paralyze and depress me and make me give up on the idea my life has a real purpose or meaning.
When that happens, I rebound this way: I think of the word call and begin to revive and come to consciousness.
I have worked on a spiritual life hard enough and long enough to learn that I am not called to save the world, solve its problems, or help all of the poor or broken people.
Even the people who worship a God realize that their God can’t do it either or won’t.
But I have, as everyone has, my unique call: in my family, work, and life. I can help with the small things.
I have to keep asking my own idea of God for help sometimes in helping me see what my call is and give me the strength and heart to honor that call, live it and keep it with trust and honesty.
Every man or woman on earth is challenged by life, and they can only answer by answering for their own life and can only respond by being responsible for themselves.
One spiritual philosopher I read wrote that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the troubles and suffering of our time. It is accessible and doable.
So that, with all humility, has become my faith, my rebirth, my resurrection.
If I had to put it into a few words, I would say it is the idea (actually St. Terese’s idea) of small acts of great kindness. The Little Way.
That’s the term that most defines and captures my call.
If I can’t handle the number of awful things that occur in the human world daily, I can embrace my call to respond in this small and faithful way.
I first heard this call sometime in 2016, have listened to it every day since, and I am committed to it fully.
My calling is not what buys me food and shelter; it is what I am put on this earth to do with such passion and commitment that it becomes spiritual in calling.
I have to take the word of others to accept the idea that this is the most healing response I can offer to the troubles and violence of our world. That’s not something I can know, only believe.
It is the best I can do and a good thing I can do, and I can do it every day.
That is my response to the people who starve, are homeless, perish in wars, and are struck down in their lives and homes all around me.
I answer the call. It’s the best I can do, and I will do it as best I can for as long as possible.
I am grateful to the many good people who answer that call with me.