I’m overcome by suffering children. With the changing weather, I think of the cold refugee Syrian children. I think of the hungry, thirsty and orphaned Filipino children. To make it through every day, I don’t really let myself feel it too much. It’s just so sad. If I couldn’t control it, I’d spend every day crying. And if I couldn’t control it, I’d spend every day frozen, unable to do anything.
A few months ago, I attended a lecture by Reverend Allan Boesak with my global leadership class. Boesak, an anti-apartheid activist, has an overwhelming presence. He spoke about his struggle for justice, his fight, his bravery, his vision and he’s just one of those people. You know those people. You can’t explain. Magnetic. And I just listened. Could I ever be that brave? Would my work ever matter that much?
On that day, Syria was on my mind and with Nelson Mandela’s imminent death threatening our every day I became undone. When Boesak finished his lecture, I let the stage clear and I approached him. What I meant to be a very coherent and clear question came out in gasps and breaths with tears.
How. I asked him. How do you do… anything. How do you keep on with all the bad. With all the sad? And I was crying. Surely, it’s not by crying.
Reverend Boesak took my hands and so sincerely he said to me, “you don’t do it all. You do it for one. And if you can, you do it for another.” He was swept away with people who wanted to take his picture and talk to him and he let go of my hands and he maintained eye contact as long as he could.
Every day. We try to be strong to make it through the next day to do the right thing, no matter how small, that day. So we can do it the next.
Now, when I feel like I’m not doing enough, I think of Reverend Boesak’s channeling of Mother Teresa,“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”