The expression, may you live in interesting times, seems to be the theme of 2020. According to Wikipedia the expression is an English translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While we might consider peaceful and predictable times uninteresting, they are also free from harmful events. Interesting times implies a degree of uncertainty, and at its worst danger. These days many of us find ourselves questioning our ability to hold our lives together while the ground beneath our feet feels unreliable. So, although I am not a religious person, I do follow a spiritual path and I often pray these days. I pray for an end to the uncertainty, I pray for a way to heal the division between peoples hearts and minds, and I pray for a way to make a difference. It is then, in the hollowest of moments, that I contemplate, “But who am I, but one to make a difference?” And then I look out into the crowd of many, and I see you— your vacant eyes and slumped shoulders burdened by the weight of our worlds affairs. My eyes mirror the weariness in you and the chronic state of collapsed joy.
My point is, just in case you missed the enormous needle bearing down on you, is that it’s easy to be led astray by the events we are experiencing today which make us feel incapacitated and caught. I know I often find myself descending into an emotional pit, which either delves into the darkness of anger where I soon find myself throwing F-bombs like Rambo throws grenades, or I fall into a frozen state of fear bracing for some sort of cataclysmic conclusion, only able to breath in the barest of whispers. In either situation, I am suddenly as powerless and as ineffectual as a streetlight with its bulb blown out. At times I feel less than one and yet I still wish to help.
It is then, in the darkness of my thoughts that I ask again, “Who am I but one to make a difference?” After waiting a few minutes, I admit to feeling slightly disappointed in the Universe, a little alien zipping down from the sky to share its bit of knowledge would have been nice, or at least the half expected booming Godly voice with an explanation to my query. But no— silence was the answer. Not one to give up so easily, I make myself comfortable, by listening to inspirational binaural beats and meditating. Eventually an answer formed in my mind, “One of anything is a whole. It is not a fraction or a half hearted effort, one is a complete structure within itself. One has the capability of becoming more.” And although that answer felt satisfying to me, I searched further yet, and came across Britannica.com stating, ‘At the most basic of religious thoughts, the most perfect number was one, for by advancing from zero to one, men believed they proceeded from non-existence to existence. Moreover, all other whole numbers were regarded multiples of one, representative of the Creator.’ From that, a simple conclusion sprang into my mind, we are one of many, and at the same time simply one. Therefore, we all represent the ability to connect, to collaborate and to bring about the change we wish to see. One is the beginning, do what you can where you stand. Shine bright.