So everyday I wake up and there is this HUGE list of things I'd LOVE to get done. You know: feed starving people (while also teaching them to fish), single-handedly stop human trafficking, find loving families for ALL the orphans in the world, stop pollution and deforestation. That important save-the-world/ make the world a better place-sort of stuff. BUT first, I have to feed the kids breakfast, get them dressed, do homeschool (while juggling an uncooperative baby), make lunch, clean the kitchen, change diapers, do laundry, put the baby down for a nap, clean, chase a chicken every now and then, stay sane, start dinner, clean the kitchen again, and then I do whatever else needed to prevent utter chaos from taking over the house. From there, my husband and I start getting the kids ready bed, we help them brush their teeth, get dressed, he reads to or with them, while I bathe, change, and settle the baby to sleep. Not to mention all the other little unmemorable little things that take up your time like nursing, preventing fights, or other general maintenance a household or kids require. Anyways, It might sound all too familiar to you, or (unless you've done it) it may even sound easy. Whatever the case, it doesn't leave much room in the schedule for saving the world. Of course, I don't mean to sound cynical or defeatist and there are all those things a person can do to (sort of) make the world a better place or at least keep ourselves from making things worse. Doesn't it always seem like that's the sort of thing that's everyone else's job? It's easier just to not think about all the problems with the world. We can always just pass the buck and make a donation to whatever worthy or charitable cause we see fit, Right? I'm rambling now (if that isn't obvious).
A couple weeks ago my family and I were driving home from my parent's house, we were going to stop at my sister's church to hear a Ugandan missionary speak. After that, we'd have over an hour to drive home with two worn out kids and an exhausted baby. We were pushing it for time. As we're turning a corner, I see this tiny kitten curled up on what would be the path of a tire on the inside of the turn. How could we not stop, knowing the next car would likely, unknowingly crush the poor creature? I told my husband to pull over to check out the kitten's situation. It would've ran from me if it could've seen, but it's eyes were two little masses of crusted infection. I immediately thought it would have to be put down because it must have had a large wound on it's back where fly eggs (or fly-strike) was matted onto it. I picked it up and put it into a gift bag and decided I should walk to the nearest home to check if it might belong to them. It didn't (sort of unfortunately for me because I now the responsibility to take care of this pathetic little thing and possibly even watch it die). I decided it must have been abandoned by it's mother because of the mess it was in. There was no way out of this. It was my little miserable fur ball now, this tiny, inconvenient, insignificant creature with significant suffering. I got back inside the car feeling slightly overwhelmed with this new found situation. We still went to hear the missionary speak, luckily the baby was asleep and my family went inside the church while I stayed outside and gave the kitten water I had in the car and tried to figure out how bad off it was. Both my little girl and the kitten cried much of the way home. I couldn't help but to be annoyed thinking of all the cats allowed to go un-spayed or neutered just to end up having litter after litter of kittens to end up in the same disgusting condition this poor kitten was in. We finally got home and after getting the baby to bed, I bathed the kitten twice (carefully in warm water) because it was filthy and covered in fleas. It was so weak. I discovered the fly eggs weren't because of a wound but because of something spilled on it's back (which was lucky). I also cleaned and treated it's filthy ears for ear mites, cleaned and treated its crusted eyes with antibiotic ointment (I had leftover from treating another of our cats), I gave it some canned food and later got kitten formula to mix into it's food. It was around four weeks old. I also put a heat pad under the tote I'd placed it in with a soft blanket. I'll take it to a vet when it's old enough to be fixed and then she'll have other necessary shots too. Meanwhile we have a happy, healthy, calico kitten to pounce our feet as we walk by and to dig into my houseplants :/ We're not sure if we'll keep her (I already have one baby to worry about) and two other cats, but she's already got dibs on another good home if we don't want her.
It was all pretty mundane and insignificant really, but for that kitten, I made the world a better place to live. I have a ton of respect for people who live their lives in service (whether in their job or in volunteer work) to those less fortunate (in whatever way) than themselves, I also have a lot of respect for people in noble professions, like my husband who is a teacher or friends who are nurses. I often think about how awesome it would be to continually have the opportunity to make such great impact on those around you. Not just to make a difference, but to own that self-awareness of your value and worth and have it driving your work, day in and day out. Really though, we all have more impact than we know. How you treat another person might be the make-it or break-it moment in their day. Maybe that isn't world changing but what if it were life-changing? I'm often the type of person that if I can't do something right or close to perfect, I don't want to do it at all, but sometimes we have to settle for what we can do, what we can manage. After all, large jobs can only ever be accomplished little by little anyways and I am just one person. It's easy to be so absorbed by life's tasks that you miss those moments where you can make a difference. For now, I'll try to look for little opportunities to make the world a better place, even when it seems insignificant, maybe one day I'll have the chance to do something bigger. I guess I'll end my rant with this story my dad used to tell a lot: There were thousands of starfish washed up on a beach one day. An older man came across the beach and saw a little boy picking up the starfish and flinging them back into the ocean. Stricken by the absurdity of it, the man walked up to the little boy and asked him what he was doing. The boy said, "I'm rescuing them!" The man retorted, "You can't possibly save them all. Don't you see? There are thousands lying here!" The boy picked up another and threw it as far as he could into the waves and said (contentedly), "I saved that one."