“Do the things you believe in, in the name of love. And know that you aren't alone. We all have doubts and fears.”
There are so many good causes, aren't there? So much need, and all of it urgent. People in famine, children who've never known life without war, terrible education systems, social justice issues involving race and gender and poverty and privilege. So much legitimate suffering, so many clamoring for help. And, when we can't do it all, or anything substantial, we feel guilty. We doubt our own hearts, our own capacity for compassion.
When I was a younger woman, I jumped right into the middle of almost any injustice. I wore myself to a frazzle trying to win the battles of inequality. I think young people have more courage, as well as more passion and energy. Naivety is an asset. Since you don't know what you can't do, you just do it. Even if your actions don't change the inequities, they shine a light on them. They create the conditions in which other people are forced to see them, and eventually, to deal with them differently. We all have a role to play. The wheels of change sometimes move slowly—one inch at a time. Each generation adds something. Like adding threads to a tapestry, social change takes place one layer at a time.
As we learn more about the world, how it works, how easily it breaks your heart, we aren't as courageous. We get more careful at choosing our battles; at deciding which causes mean the most to us. It's okay to thoughtfully consider the things in which to invest your heart, your time, and your energy. You don't have to feel guilty over not being able to do it all. It makes sense, at least to me, to do only the things you can do with conviction. Put to rest your doubts and fears, and your guilt. Do what you can do with great love, and that will be sufficient.
In the Spirit,