I admit it. I’m an activist. I never thought I’d become one as the very word always elicited rather negative mental pictures. But then I made some lifestyle changes and, the more I educated myself, the more of an activist I became. I can’t label myself ‘activist’ for one particular cause: there are so many things I’m passionate about it would take more space than WordPress allots me to list them all.
One thing I am not passionate about are articles and documentaries that show me an injustice, get me riled up about it, and then neglect to offer me any action I can take to try and improve the situation. I get caught in that trap more often than I care to admit. I just shared an article on my Facebook page that I removed after a second read and careful thought. Did I disagree with the article? No. Do I think hauling the actions some would commit in darkness into the light is bad? No. Did the article offer me any hope at all or did it just make me angry? Answer? It made me angry and offered no hope. So, I took it down. If I find something that makes the same point and offers me a glimmer of hope, I’ll post that one.
What’s the big deal, I ask myself. In my case, it’s that I dislike anger I can’t direct at something constructive. If I read an article that gets me angry and leaves me that way, what do I do with that anger? Stomp around my house? Track down the people mentioned in the article and leave mean things on their Facebook pages? Spend my afternoon with an anger that steadily morphs into depression and despair because there’s just nothing I can do about any of it so what’s the point in trying at all?
Ephesians 4:26 tells me to “Be angry yet sin not”. To me, this tells me anger is a good thing. I should be angry that fellow human beings are starving in refugee camps. The systematic poisoning of our air and water should make me angry. But, that anger should not become destructive. Rather, the heat of it should make me get up off my duff, give money-or time since I’m short on money-and do something to change the situation. Easiest of all, anger should make me look at my life and see how my choices affect this world I’m a tiny part of.
And I do mean tiny. It’s difficult to believe anything I do or choice I make can have any sort of impact in the world. The problems of the world are so vast: what can one limited (not disabled!) woman do, especially when I’m up against corporations who have billions of dollars and all the power that money buys at their backs? To quote one of my favorite authors; A single drop can’t make even a puddle, but together, all our little drops and God’s planning can make not only a mighty ocean but a mighty difference. (And It Was Good Madeleine L’Engle, 1983)
Quotes like this help me. Maybe I am a tiny drop but there are others striving to make a difference. They may not look like me, talk like me, or believe the same things I do but they are striving to better their part of the world the same way I seek to better mine. My drop joins to theirs and, as more and more of us join together, we become a force at work in the world. I find joy as well as hope in that thought.
So, thank you to all who write articles intended to make me angry but who add two or three actions I can implement in my life. Thank you for your bravery in addressing issues that aren’t popular. I have read your articles. They have touched my life and my life is changing.