I shared this on facebook today, so some of you will have already read this:
Like many of you, I've been trying to process the horror of what happened on Monday. My initial concern was for the safety of my friends participating in the marathon and those living in Boston. Once I found out that they were okay, I became overwhelmed by fear. Fear to attend any large gatherings, fear to take my children to popular sight-seeing locations, fear to participate in the world in general.
But, I'm kind of a defiant person, so that fear led to anger. Who are these people and what right do they have to make me, or anyone else afraid to live our lives? That is not the world I want my children to grow up in. I want them to be brave, but also to feel safe. So, I asked myself, "What can I do to make a difference?" The same question I asked myself after the shooting in Connecticut last December. And again, I felt really small and insignificant. I am just one person. How can I make a difference?
And then I remembered some very wise counsel from Elder M. Russell Ballard. He compared each of us to a honeybee. Did you know that one honeybee's lifetime contribution of honey is an itty-bitty one-twelfth of a teaspoon? That's it. But, you put all of those honeybees tiny contributions together, and there is enough honey for me to buy a beautiful 30 pound jug at the Farmer's Market.
And I think it's time that we all take a cue from the honeybee. There are some big issues today that we have let become all-important and divisive. These things consume so much of our time and our energy. There is a lot of anger and misunderstanding in the world. And we're forgetting our humanity. And our need for connection and community. It's time to remember. And it is time to act.
Here is Elder Ballard's suggestion for how to best make a difference-- "But what about our everyday lives? What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small, compassionate acts performed daily by us because of our heartfelt Christian love for others? Over time this would have a transformative effect upon all of our Heavenly Father's children through the extension of His love to them through us. Our troubled world needs this love of Christ today more than ever, and it will need it even more in the years ahead.
"These simple, daily acts of service may not seem like much in and of themselves, but when considered collectively they become just like the one-twelfth teaspoon of honey contributed by a single bee to the hive. There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness, it will sweeten and nourish the world with the life-sustaining nectar of faith, hope and charity."
He then suggests that we pray every morning to be guided to recognize an opportunity to serve and keep that as our focus throughout the day. I know you don't all believe as I do as far as religion and faith go. But that is not the point.
Whether you believe in God, or Jesus Christ, or not, I'm just suggesting--asking--that you join me in making a conscientious effort to serve one another. Friends and strangers alike. We need more kindness, more compassion, and more love. I don't want to constantly feel the need to shield my children from the goings on in the world. I want the news to consist of stories of love and courage and kindness. I want to feel like the goodness in this world outweighs the bad, and not the reverse.
I know this has been long. I get that way. I'm going to end with one more quote from Elder Ballard, "And remember, like the little honeybee's one-twelfth teaspoon of honey provided to the hive, if we multiply our efforts by tens of thousands, even millions of prayerful efforts to share God's love for His children through Christian service, there will be a compounding effect of good that will bring the Light of Christ to this ever-darkening world. Bound together, we will bring love and compassion to our own family and to the lonely, the poor, the broken, and to those of our Heavenly Father's children who are searching for truth and peace."
My heart goes out to the city of Boston and all those affected. I wish I knew what to do to help any of them directly. But, this is something I can do. I'm changing my profile pic to that of a honeybee as symbol of my commitment to each of you to find a way to serve someone every day, and thereby contribute my one-twelfth of a teaspoon of sweet goodness to the world. I hope you'll all join me and help make a difference!
I felt pretty strongly that I was supposed to share this. And, to be honest, the issue of 'how can I make a difference' has been weighing heavily on me ever since December. So, having this all come together was a really big deal. And it got shared around facebook a little, a couple people even changed their profile picture to the honeybee. It was nice to feel supported in this and to feel like, in a really small way, hopefully I've made a little change for good. And that is a really good feeling. Plus, I meant every word. I really do think that if everyone became more service oriented, that could go a lot further than any kind of law could, by way of making this world more peaceful and less scary.
Plus, today was just a good day in general. I'm feeling so much better. Thanks for all of your support!