My daily journal writing generally follows the same format. I record and review what happened the day before, and then reflect on any lessons or insights I have learned. I finish by asking God, “What would you have me know today?” While this routine has provided me with a treasured keepsake of memories, it has also become an essential centering practice for my day ahead.
But every so often I become quite anxious and sad about the troubles of the world, so my words spill out into several paragraphs of frustration, grief, and anger. Yesterday was one such day. I then followed this rant with my daily question, “God, what would you have me know today?” This is the surprising answer I received:
“You cannot fix this, Karen.”
At first, these words hurt! My deep sorrow and sense of futility grew. But as I continued to think about this answer, I gradually began to feel freer… and lighter.
The social, political, economic, and environmental troubles of the world are complex and deep-seated, with no simple solutions. Each time I feel compelled to address or solve these problems, their size and complexity often overwhelm and then immobilize me. I sigh, shrug, and resign myself that there is probably nothing I can do; my actions would only be “a drop in the bucket.”
With yesterday’s words, God began to free me of the burden of fixing, so I could carry the task of helping. This new perspective gave me the freedom and optimism to do what I can, while releasing to God what I cannot.
What can I do? If I bless one person each day I will have blessed 365 lives in one year. If I live my life with gracious care, generosity, and compassion, my example may inspire another to live this way, too. If I donate to an organization that supports worthy purposes, my meager funds will combine with the donations of many others. If I promote and vote for leaders who will work to care for all people and preserve God’s creation, my vote will join with the votes of many others who seek the same ideals.
We are all “drops in the bucket,” as the expression goes. Oh, some people may make a bigger splash or provide more water than the rest of us. But every single drop is needed – ours included – to completely fill the bucket of abundant life for everyone. Each of us has been created to live as one small drop of God’s universal goodness and love. May we learn to embrace and humbly live out this small but holy calling. And together, may we fill this earthly bucket to overflowing – with rivers of love, justice, compassion, and care – for ALL of God’s creation.