(originally published January 18, 2010)
A number of people have expressed to me they feel somewhat guilty their lives are so blessed and/or peaceful right now while people are being blown up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places – and by their own countrymen! Or that people are suffering and dying by the tens of thousands in Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
"How [they ask] can I dare to have a good day when all of this is happening?"
I think that's a good question asked by decent people.
The answer is simple: what choice do you have?
Shall you undermine yourself and those who count on you by crumbling under the awareness of this cruelty of people and nature? Does that add to the misery of the world? YES. Does that minimize the misery of the world? NO.
Your job is to do and be your best and to bring light into darkness in your own mind and home, and among family, friends, and community. Where you have the wherewithal and the expertise to extend that to deserving people and places, do so because all humanity benefits by your action of caring – if not aided directly, then at the very least inspired by your example.
Where you can't extend yourself to some place around the world, be cognizant that compassion and love in a circle around you has a ripple effect to help perfect the world for whatever moments of bliss might exist. They add up.
Whether close at hand or off to a distant land, when you extend mercy, you do an act which magnificently defines humanity.