Become a Sister Request Prayer Volunteer Donate

What Difference Can One Person Make?

Where Does One Start?

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="alignright" width="200"] Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP[/caption] This sentence by Paul Rogat Loeb – Soul of a Citizen was recently quoted in PACE E BENE’s daily e-mail: "We do not know where to start... we mistrust our own ability to make a difference. The magnitude of the issues at hand, coupled with this sense of powerlessness, has led too many of us to conclude that social involvement isn't worth the cost... it's what psychologists call learned helplessness." It reminded me of how overwhelmed I had felt when I spent three months visiting my Mother’s birth country, the Philippines. The trip was a silver jubilee gift from three western Kansas parishes where I was ministering at the time. It was in and around Quezon City, PI that I saw firsthand the extreme poverty and terrible conditions that millions of our brothers and sisters live in daily. I remember the feeling of powerlessness that gripped me in the face of so much oppression and suffering. Where does one start? and is there anything at all I can do that would make a difference? These thoughts were heavy on my heart as a Dominican Sister from Pampanga traveled with me to northern Luzon to see the Banaue rice terraces. Upon our arrival in the Banaue viewing area, we were greeted by the tiny Ifugao farming people who have lived  in the region for over 2000 years. I felt tall standing next  to them! We learned how they had cultivated the rice  terraces field by field as their families and villages grew,  cutting away at the mountains as their needs arose, catching  and channeling the water to grow their rice, doing what was  needed right in front of them to feed their family and villagers.  And doing just that over time had transformed the entire  mountain region into what we now commonly refer to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”!

Working Side by Side, Does Change the World

[caption id="attachment_4574" align="alignleft" width="339"] Rice Terraces of Banaue[/caption] I’m sure the small farming people of the north did not have in mind to build a “wonder of the world”; but by each of them doing what he/she could do right where they were—and with their primitive hand tools-- they had done it. What an image for me to hold onto as I returned to the overcrowded poverty area of Quezon City where I was staying, and as I came back to my home in Kansas! I still keep a picture of these rice terraces in my bedroom to remind me that one person –and other persons cooperatively working side by side—DOES change the world, DOES make a difference, even if we can’t see/imagine the final outcome. My daily challenge is: how am I using my ‘tools’ and gifts to do what is right in front of me to change the world into God’s kingdom on Earth; to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, PREACH PEACE? We don’t want intolerance, discrimination, and racism to continue permeating our society; we disagree with and reject the anti-immigration, the denial of climate change, the disregard of people’s rights to clean air and pure water. Instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of these issues, let’s ask: what one thing can I do right where I am to contribute to the change I hope for? “If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *