Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Still Changin' the World?

In response to: "Still changing the world?"

I don't know if I am changing the world - there are a lot of frustrations, slow reactions, and non-successful programs out there, and I can't help but admit that sometimes I am just adding fuel to the fire (why do we drill and drill more boreholes, when there are 10,000+ broken boreholes in sub-Saharan Africa? Why not figure out why they are broken, and set up a system so they don't break in the future??). I guess no matter where I am, or what I am doing, the grass will always be greener... It's hard for me to be content, when I know that, while my actions might have some merit, there are so many people in the world who are still suffering, and I can't get to them all. It's so easy to give up - but what is the point? And then I go back and forth - what is the point of doing all this work, when there is no benefit - or at least seen benefit - of these actions?

I do what I do because I believe everyone is equal, that everyone is inherently good, that one is born into a life beyond their control, but can change it. But is it so easy to say, "but what really is one person in 6.2 billion people?" And I fight, and I cry, and I try so hard to make every action conscious, to make every statement matter, to make every smile sincere. Ironically I think the most noble causes are the most lonely - often a battle fought out of desire, out of searching, out of trying to understand. I often question the motives of others, especially those I see around me here in Gulu, those who seem to not care about what they are doing - are they just so frazzled and disconnected that they don't see they reasons why they came here in the first place? It's certainly not the money that motivates anyone to work in this life - or perhaps it is. Savings, of course, is a motivator. But it is a disconnected life, it is a life of wandering and short-term friends. Of Friday night Frisbee and Thursday night Quizzes. Connections are temporary - but why should that be so if I am trying to change lives? Why should I leave the smile of the little girl who, for the first time in her life, has clean water?

I often think about people in my life, in my lives past. Those people who have payed a role in shaping who I am. I want to thank them. I know there are always things one wants to change about oneself, but overall, I think I am a good person, and I live my life to be a good person. And all those people I have encountered in my life, they have painted my story, painted my being, shaped who I am today. Even those who, for only a minute, smiled in my direction or gave me a kind word. I remember all of them.

I go back and forth, day to day, questioning what I do and why I do it. There are definitely comforts, and often they are masked by those discomforts - loneliness, homesickness, a life beyond anything I have ever know, and to face poverty in days every where I look. I don't know why I have chosen this life, or why I feel so compelled to serve others, but I think we often forget the value that a little good-doing can do. We get so caught up in our day to day lives, forgetting all the things we take for granted, the cars, the hot water, the toilets and health. I don't mean to be depressing - yes, certainly it can be - but more positive. If we consciously make decisions in our lives that influence and affect others, in positive ways, can we make our world a better place? I was told the other day that I am too trusting - I am. I believe that all people, and animals, are good. I believe that we have the power to love unconditionally, and to treat everyone with respect. We just need to realize that these day-to-day decisions need to be made with awareness, made with passion, made with sincerity.

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