On Saving the World

Burning the candle at both ends.
(Image: canva.com)

One problem with the massive amounts of information, news, and advertisements crossing our threshold is the overwhelming number of people, animals, places, and things in need of our help.

Some day’s it’s simply heartbreaking.

The message is “You can help! Please help!”

Over, and over, and over again.

The problem? That message, repeated a hundred times for a hundred different opportunities, not only deadens us to the various situations in need, but often makes us feel incredibly guilty for not being able to help absolutely everyone.

It’s not that we don’t want to help … we do. But we can’t. Or, for various legitimate reasons, we shouldn’t.

We can’t save the world.

Occasionally you’ll hear stories of the over-extended who try. They ruin themselves, or at least end up in less than desirable situations. Think the neighborhood cat lady, who tries to save them all, or the overextended retiree who gives to any charity that asks.

That’s the catch, isn’t it? We want to save them all. We want to help them all. So many stories. So much need.

We want to save the world.

How can we feel anything but guilty and undeserving of our own situation if we can’t help everyone? It can be downright depressing.

The takeaway is simple: realize you can’t help them all. Everyone has heard this already, but it doesn’t stick like that constant stream of pleas for help.

With that realization, we can form a plan to do what we can.

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
Squire Bill Widener of Widener’s Valley, Virginia
Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography

Choose a few organizations, causes, and/or people — whatever resonates with you. Chose those that feel particularly “right” for your involvement. Do what’s appropriate, do what you can, within your personal limits.

Contribute from your time, treasure, or talent. Again, whatever is appropriate for you, your situation, and the needs of whomever you’re helping.

Then know you’ve made the world a bit better by helping as you can.

No, you’ve not helped everyone, but you’ve helped some. No, you haven’t solved all problems, but you’ve helped make progress on a few.

You haven’t saved the world, but you’ll have helped save someone’s world.

I stumble across this quote from time to time: “To the world you might be just one person, but to one person you might be their whole world.”

That can be enough.

2 thoughts on “On Saving the World”

  1. Mother Teresa said “if you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” It may sound a little crass but I try to send money to charities that will get the most bang for the buck. Certainly not going to send money to an organization that spends most of its budget on fundraising. I also like to support local charities, as you said, it feels right to me to help in my community.

  2. Thank you for articulating this! Everyday I am overcome with the feelings you describe above. Thank you for helping me see it this way and comforting us through this reality.

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