This week has been an eventful one for our nation. A new president was inaugurated and celebrated or protested on social media or by participating in marches and events.
There’s a question that gets raised in different ways but you’ll see it:
“What good does it do?”
Sometimes it’s raised as a critique, the implied answer or point being made that it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s asked honestly, seeking understanding; maybe even by the person attempting the action.
“Will it do any good? Does it make any difference? Why do it?”
The question reminded me of two quotes.
“Do for one what you you wish you could do for everyone.” – Andy Stanley
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Ghandi
We can only control what we can control. And we can only offer small, humble offerings to others into this world. We may not be able to help hundreds or thousands of people. But we can join with hundreds and thousands. We can choose to give our all and give a hundred percent to the person right in front of us.
Regardless of the outcome.
What good does it do? We don’t have to wait to see the outcome to answer the question for ourselves. I believe the good that is done is done regardless of what follows because no act of love or courage is wasted. The act of choosing is what makes it worth it. We grow by choosing. Even though we don’t see the fruit of the choice that we make. It’s just like loving our kids, it’s worth it. It can help to be hopeful about the good it could do, what might result. But in the long run how they respond and what results isn’t really entirely up to us. What matters is that we chose love. That we don’t stay stuck or powerless or victimimized or silent.
This morning I remembered the story of the young man who came upon an older man throwing starfish back into the ocean. He asked what difference does it make, there so many. And the elderly man replied, “It made a difference to that one.
That’s what I do with counseling. As I was driving into the office, I thought,
“Oh, today I’m going to drive in and throw some starfish back into the ocean.”
But then I realized. My clients aren’t starfish. I’m not saving them.
The clients that I see are also on the shore line and I join them there. The shoreline between the crashing raging ocean their past and the shoreline of their present and future. And they can’t move away from their past, they feel stuck on this shoreline.
They feel bog down by their pain, by their choices. By what has happened to them. And this shoreline is littered with their pain and their wounds.
They’re faced with the questions:
Is it worth it?
Why do I have to face all this?
Why do I have to go there?
What good will it do?
And just like the original story, it might not make the difference for everything but in that moment, for today, it’ll make a difference for that one, for that hurt, for that wound, that memory. It’s not everything, but it’s a worthwhile start. You won’t know where it will lead, until you’re brave enough to start.
If you don’t know where to start, we can start with the one that you’re holding, right now, in your hand.
We can begin there.