Between the Intention and the Act

Every needy person or animal is an opportunity for you to become even more human.

Many people’s hearts are good and they want to help those less fortunate but somewhere between good intentions and positive action a cloud of confusions takes over. Who to help? Who needs it more? Is there no end? Does it matter if I save just one tree? Etcetera.

With this letter, I hope to help. I hope to show you how it is possible to make a difference, and to not continue to worry that you’re not doing the right thing or enough.

As has been said by one of the great movers in the world of reaching out and making a difference, Mother Teresa: “There are no great acts, only many small ones.” There are people doing what they can to save whales, children, trees, butterflies, the oceans and on and on. The recent thinking is that there are many groups each doing what they do and all coming together to create a world-wide movement that is working from the inside out. The many small groups are becoming a major group with everyone doing what their hearts lead them to.

It reminds me of the story about a child walking on the beach with his father at low tide. The beach was covered with millions of starfish washed up at high tide and stranded there.

The child began throwing as many as he could until his father said “With so many on the beach what difference could your throwing back a few possibly make?” The child said, “To the few I am putting back into the ocean it makes a big difference.” That is the point. Nothing we do to make this world a better place is ever wasted.

I urge you to sit down and make a little list of what touches you and what would make you feel good to do. Once you have this list, pick anything on it and think of a way that you can make some difference with your time and effort, or donation of money, goods, or services, or by just asking those already involved if there is something they want to achieve that you might be able to assist them with.

Don’t get bogged down with 10 charities for now, just one. Remember that it’s better to do one than none. If you’re stuck, maybe I can offer a few simple ones from my list that can help get you started:

1. Contact people with fruit trees to ask if they would allow the Food Bank to come harvest a portion of the tree for the less fortunate; and it’s good for the trees too!

2. Donate some of your time to the Food Bank.

3. Stop by the Santa Barbara Humane Society and offer time to play with and pet and feed the dogs and cats. It is a great joy! Be prepared to take one of the animals home someday!

4. Take some toys to Transition House for the children of the homeless.

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