Little Things

 In Atlas

It’s easy to look at the world and think things are crazy. It’s also easy to look at the world and feel helpless. The feeling like there is nothing you can do to make things better. That somehow society has dug a hole so deep we’ll never get out of it. So maybe you give a little money to a cause, or donate your time. But in the end you’re just one person, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. After seeing what’s happened in Las Vegas, that’s exactly where I am.

I can only imagine it’s worse for everyone in healthcare. You’ve dedicated your lives to helping people, so in times like this, that overwhelming feeling must be that much heavier. Monday morning I watched a friend (who is also a nurse) pour out his heart on Facebook. The pain was written all over his face, his words filled with anguish and dread. The only connection he had to the victims in Las Vegas was his profession, and I could tell that if somehow he could instantly transport himself there to help, he would. He’d do it no matter how long it took, and with no regard for his person needs or safety. Because that’s who he is, and that’s the profession he has chosen.

So how do I make a difference? I’m not a nurse. I’ve said many times I can’t even begin to understand what all of you go through or how you do it. The highs and lows you feel. So how can I make a difference in a world that seems so cold and angry? After some thought, and what could be called meditation, it came to me…and it’s possibly easier than I think. Maybe just for a second I can wipe away the doom and dread, and see some hope. And in that second, I could find what I need.

I texted my wife Monday morning:

“Hey. I love you.”

Little things. Little things can build into big things. I talk to my son about this every day. Maybe that’s the clarity I needed. What’s the saying, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? I believe I’m a good person. But I can do more. We all could do more. Each little thing can build on the previous one. Smile at people. Say good morning. Hold the door open. Don’t get so mad when you drive (I’m so terribly guilty of that). Ask the guy across the counter how his day is going. Pay for the car behind you in the drive thru line. Compliment with sincerity. Shake hands with conviction. Love with all your heart. Give without expecting anything in return. Listen…actually listen when other people talk. And for goodness sake, don’t believe everything you read online. How soon we forget the Pay it Forward kid. Remember all that? It needs to come back.

Anyone can post a meme on Facebook. That doesn’t change anything. But the next time you’re out, try one of these things. Being kind is infectious. And better yet, being kind is free. I might not be able to do anything about all the evil and anger in the world as a whole. But in my little space that I occupy every day, I can be kind. I can work to be the best possible version of myself. Maybe that’s the first step, and maybe it influences others to do the same. So brick by brick, step by step, moment by moment, we can heal together and eventually make the world a better place.

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