at the risk of seeming ridiculous…

The Small Things…?

Posted in written thoughts by Charles on December 25, 2007

If we confine our scrutiny to the zero-sum heroics of revolution successfully achieved, we discount the vast proportion of human social action which is played out, perforce, on a more humble scale.  We also evade, by teleological reasoning, the real questions that remain as to what are the transformative motors of history.  Jean Comaroff, Body of Power

  This quote came as a gift to me on Christmas Eve.  I believe that it provides a significant insight into the nature of what social action is.

We have to sit still for a moment in our hype-driven culture… and just reflect on what it means to be “socially active”.  In the world of Bono’s and Gore’s, it’s hard to think of social action (or love…) on the simple level.  When you have Brad Pitt come out on television holding an AIDS-stricken child, it’s hard to think of that inner-city teacher who has committed the past 15 years of her life teaching and loving her kids… without the fame nor pay that she deserves.

This makes me think about what is truly meaningful when it comes to helping “humanity”.  Is it really the big things?  Is it getting white wrist bands on over a million Americans?  Is it holding massive concerts around the world to talk about a single issue?  Is it even getting airtime?  Or is it simple love?  In the form of commitment…?  Is it that person who commits everyday to being at the after-school program at 3pm sharp so that kids will have a safe place to go?  Is it that mother who works hard through the hours of the night so that she’ll be home when her kids come from school?  Is it that guy who merely shows up because he said he would?

Don’t get me wrong.  Seeing something revolutionary is not a bad thing.  It’s a glorious thing… something that fills people with hope.  But like any grand thing, they are momentary.  They pass.  But the question is… are the people still committed after those grand moments?  It’s dangerous to only rely on the grand things… the true test is whether our lives resonate that grandness on the day-to-day basis.

Mother Teresa said it well:

 Speak tenderly.  Let there be kindness in your face, your eyes, your smile, in the warmth of your greeting.  Always have a cheerful smile.  Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.  Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.  We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.  And be faithful in these small things because it is in them that your strength lies.    


3 Responses

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  1. sars said, on January 15, 2008 at 18:15

    speak it brotha haha. freals. the whole celebrity and social action thing rubs me the wrong way. instead of asking us for financial contributions, how about we start asking ourselves why actors/actresses are paid in the millions for a movie role? anyway.

    i’ll be shooting you a letter soon. snail mail baby. 🙂

  2. eunice said, on March 7, 2008 at 10:10

    i think you should write more cool entries (:

  3. dan hom said, on May 27, 2008 at 14:06


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