Sea StarIt can be overwhelming. In our every increasingly global community where news is instantaneous and we are impacted by the tragedies of others both catastrophically natural and man-made we are faced with the challenge not of how to feel deeply, but who and what we should feel deeply for. If that weren’t enough we are then left with the zen koan of what can be done when nothing can be done. We are not there, we often cannot be there without completely transforming our life, and there are times when our being there would actually be a burden or make things worse rather than better. Yet to feel without doing creates frustration, hopelessness, rage, despair…the list goes on and one. What’s to be done?

We are counseled from all sides that prayer is the answer.  When all else fails, we should pray for those effected. And we should. However, what most people find is that prayer is not enough. Prayer doesn’t alleviate the need to do something.  Like caffeine or a snack it tides us over when we need a quick boost, but it doesn’t resolve the underlying issues. Prayer doesn’t keep the next tragedy from happening. It helps all of us survive this one and makes us stronger so we can react to the next one, but that doesn’t stop the roller coaster.  So what’s to be done?

The thing is, every little bit helps. It doesn’t matter where we are, it doesn’t matter that we aren’t in Orlando, or Nepal which is repairing from an Earthquake, in Greece working with refugees or Indonesia helping with the floods. We can help where we are. There is need everywhere including where each and every one of us lives. All over the western world there are Pride parades happening. Each of us going even for a few minutes to show our support, to participate, to just smile puts more acceptance out into the world. Volunteering with one veteran’s organization for a few hours provides that much more help for our troops. Help that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Lending a few hours at Habitat for Humanity helps a family have a home.  It doesn’t take much, a little bit from a lot of people goes a long way. So when things seem overwhelming, take that energy and turn it into a little something right where you are. Put those emotions into action helping someone in your community. You’ll feel better, they’ll be better, and the world will be just a little bit of a better place.