“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” ~ Albert Einstein
How many of us have marveled at the courage and self-sacrifice made by a soldier saving comrades in battle or a rescue worker who has saved families from the peril of fire, flood and earthquakes. These brave souls run in to danger when all others run away from it. What is that special code of service that these rescuers live by?
I realize that firefighters, police and soldiers receive special training to face these perils, but there must also be a strong inner calling to serve humanity within these devoted men and women, or they would have chosen other occupations. We have also heard stories of heroic behavior by ordinary citizens during catastrophes.
I recall after the earthquake in California on October 17, 1989 how the community I lived in became so cooperative and courteous with one another, looking out for each other’s welfare. “Life as usual” ended and many citizens were shocked out of their normal complacency. Instead, they moved to help others in greater danger, without thought of self.
Although life does not ask most of us to save lives from physical peril, we are all given opportunities every day to make a difference in the world. I constantly hear complaints about how the world is going in the wrong direction, politics is corrupt, food is poisoned, climate change is the fault of humanity, immigrants are being treated unfairly, etc.
Who is it that we expect will change the world?
We may not be able to change political corruption in an instant, but with patience and grooming future leaders, we could individually support new leaders who value the ideals that we hold dear. We could even groom ourselves as leaders for governmental office!
We may not be able to fight against the greed of corporations on our own, but we can support local organic farmers or grow our own gardens. We may not be able to combat all of climate change, but we can reduce our own carbon footprint and encourage others in our community to do the same.
Being an example to others seems to be the best way to teach. We can be a light of inspiration for those needing motivation and the light of tolerance for those feeling judged; we can offer our arms to hold another when they need comfort and solace; we can donate money, clothing, food, or employment to those in distress.
We can provide encouragement – to our brother who has fallen – that today is a new day. He or she can do better and even greater things starting right now; for whatever we sow today, we will reap tomorrow.
We may not be able to save the entire world. We can, however, start noticing what demands our attention during the day, and act when that still, small voice within says:
“It is your service that is urgently needed at this moment.”