We live in a world where increasingly, we are confronted with more and more trauma and devastation—wars, protests, people fleeing homes that have been destroyed and so on. Too often, we are left in utter disbelief with these heartrending realities. Unquestioningly, a page through a history book will assure us it’s nothing new. These are the sad realities people have had to face throughout the ages. Nonetheless, many of these stories bring with them torment and distress. And we are left with the agonising sense that there’s nothing we can do. Yet, are we sure?
Distress in the World
One doesn’t have to look for long to find some reference to a war raging in some part of our beautiful world. Currently, the obvious places of unrest are in Yemen and Ukraine, as well as a ramping up distress in China. Of course, there are many other hotspots, including in Haiti, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia. I could go on, but the list is endless.
Destruction in the residential neighbourhoods near mountain Attan
We are brought news of the machinations amongst countries that are further enraging this war. Countries in the west, primarily the United States and what some may regard as its loyal accomplices—Britain, Europe and Canada primary amongst them—are often turning the screws on these countries.
We are also confronted with a media, too often guided by these governments. Moreover, media takes a strange delight in predominantly bringing us stories of mayhem, the world falling apart. Most news is bad news.
Syrian refugee centre on the Turkish border 80 kilometres from Aleppo, Syria (3 August 2012)
Along with unending accounts of war, we are told of the harsh realities faced by refugees. Caught in a vice, these people are often in a desperate attempt to escape their homelands. In fact, it is those homelands that were brought to a breaking point by many of the western powers, for instance, United States, Britain Europe, and Canada.
Often, the migration of these refugees is not without its own problems. Any number comes to mind. For instance, there are certain conditions tied to the permission to enter a country that don’t make it easy to remain. Things are rarely straightforward.
Complexity of the Plight Facing the World
We may sigh in frustration. It can lead to feelings of exasperation and in its extreme, to an apathy. The reason why is simply because, under normal circumstances, when we see a problem, we do something to solve it with the hope of making a difference. That’s how it normally works. And usually, our efforts lead to some degree of success. However, as noted, these challenges are often big and decidedly tenacious.
Although, the first step is perhaps realising these problems of warfare, refugees fleeing unstable regions or any number of the sources of unrest afflicting our world are ongoing. They didn’t just begin. Often, if we look back, we can see the harbingers in the past years.
Secondly, I think it’s essential to recognise the vast scope of these problems. They’re not minor obstacles facing a country. Their complexity is foreboding and will take the efforts of numerous individuals to unravel.
In Our Small Way, We Do What We Can
Simply put, there’s only so much we can do. And there’s one important thing we must do. We need to shift our focus from the the actions over which we have little to no control to those over which we can have some impact. We’re always being told to think big. But sometimes, in order to make a difference, we have to think small, or at least to a size we can handle.
It’s certainly imperative we do our bit. It could entail signing a petition. Maybe, it’ll be a matter of sending a bit of money to aid in the cause. It may seem like these things don’t make any difference. However, it means a little more money or one more name that, in combination with others, makes an immense difference. So, we’re in this together. Beyond these measures, is there anything else we can do?
Some of us take a further step and actively work to aid the refugees who may happen to arrive in Canada. For instance, some organisations will take it upon themselves to host an individual, couple or family who are seeking to eventually immigrate. Perhaps their first step is as a refugee.
The organisation takes it on themselves to smooth out the process. Often, this involves ensuring the individuals have shelter. Otherwise, there’s need to assist newcomers in navigating the educational and health systems, managing their finances, learning English or French and so on. Taking these actions will not solve the overall problems besetting the world. Still, however small, they’ll make a noticeable difference.
It’s All Connected
Our world is comprised of innumerable connections and the idea is to generate and create positive energy that we know will grow and eventually spread. It won’t be immediate. But in time, we will see the change.
And ultimately, our small changes will serve to inspire and encourage those around us to somehow make a difference, themselves. Again, it can be in however small a way. Each of us acting in our small way helps us to realise we are part of a much larger world. More importantly, what we do in our small corner of that world makes a difference to the whole. After all, we’re all connected. We’re all one.