Final Thoughts - The Most Important Lesson
If you’ve ever worked in the field, volunteered at home or abroad, or traveled on a mission trip, you know how easy it is to fall in love with the people you’re helping and the causes most dear to them. On the flight home, you scheme all the ways to continue assisting them from afar, but when your daily routines return, their plight seems farther and farther away.
I was once given very good advice on this dilemma, and I’d like to share it with you.
Several years ago I took a trip to Romania with my department director where we spent four days traveling through the country observing children’s institutions, foster parents, transitional homes, and meeting with government officials and social workers.
One of our first visits was to Camin Spital, the most notorious institution in Romania. Now closed, the building sits empty, covered in cobwebs and dried leaves, but it stands as a reminder of the country’s communist history. As I stood inside the iron gates that isolated the institution from the world, the cries of the children who lived and died inside its cement walls were almost audible on the breeze that brushed my face. I remained haunted for months afterwards.
The week continued in this manner, and by the time we said goodbye to our host organization, I was so emotionally depleted that I broke down in tears. After regaining some composure, we sat talking about how to manage emotions in the face of a broken world. And that’s when she said it.
We can’t help everyone.
We can’t contribute to every cause.
We must accept that there are more needs in the world than we alone can meet.
Once you embrace this truth and devote yourself to the few causes you care most passionately about, you’ll experience greater motivation and satisfaction with each gift. You’ll be the most useful when your priorities are no longer pulled in countless directions.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
There’s a reason this quote is widely circulated for the purposes of inspiring movements and generating change. Margaret Mead’s sentiment hits us to the core. It inspires. It makes us believe that our individuality, unique gifts, and passions, are enough, and that together we can accomplish anything.
And the truth is, we can. We just need to know what it is we want to commit ourselves changing.
The journey you’ve taken by reading this eBook is just the beginning, but I hope you leave this space feeling empowered and full of enthusiasm about how you can make a difference.