I sit on the couch in my therapist’s office. Tears stain my cheeks, and I clutch a tissue in my hand. “I don’t know what to do.” I tell her. “All of this stuff in the world. All of this bad stuff. And I’m just one person. How do I fix all of this stuff?”
If empathy were a super power I would be invincible. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to absorb the pain and heartache of others. Like a sponge, I would soak it all up and wash the world clean of the hurt and anger and and sickness and ugly that seems to be everywhere.
I would bring children back to the arms of their mothers.
I would make Russia mind its own damn business.
Homes would be plentiful and no one would do without.
All people willing and needing to work would have a job that supports their family.
Everyone would get to be with the person they love.
Cancer would not be a thing.
Parents would have the resources they need to take care of their children.
Everyone would be able to receive they medical care they need.
All children would receive an equal, quality education.
And their teachers would receive the salary they deserve without having to worry about budget cuts or where their supplies were going to come from.
Our military would be honored, respected, and treated with dignity… even when they were no longer serving.
Little girls would not be raped and their little brothers would not be killed trying to protect them.
Privilege related to skin color or social status would not exist.
“Love one another” would be the norm, not the exception.
The internet would stay free from corporate control. And so would our government.
Murderers would not walk free because of technicalities or bogus laws.
We wouldn’t have to worry about the safety of our kids when we send them to school.
People would not be judged because of the color of their skin or the size of their bodies.
And so much more.
I sit on the couch with tear-stained cheeks. “I don’t know what to do.”
“You do what you can.”
I have learned to compartmentalize since that appointment over a year ago. I don’t watch the news, and I don’t read a lot of news stories. I know that if I do I will fall down a rabbit hole of problems and heartaches that I can not fix.
Sometimes that is hard. Some stories are so big that they are unavoidable. Some wrap around your heart and squeeze it until it aches. Some make yourself ask, “How can I fix this? What can I do?”
On those days I stop. I look at my children, and I think, “This. This is what I can do.” I can be an example. I can teach them how to be better people. I can show them that making a difference to only one person has an impact. We can change the world around us, and send those changes out into the world like ripples in a pond.
That’s what I can do.