Friday, October 15, 2010

Changing the World


"When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world."

--Inscribed on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abby (1100 AD)

Reading this quote always makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

I am introverted, easily overwhelmed, and need a good deal of rest and alone time just to deal with my life. I am always amazed at stories of people in my same situation (middle-class, middle-aged parents with elementary-aged children) who are adopting twelve children or organizing fund-raisers to build schools in Africa or traveling around the country raising awareness about some good cause when I can barely manage to spend one hour a week in my kids' classrooms helping their teachers. 

Sometimes I feel like the planet's laziest, most under-performing humanoid.

But I am working on my shit 24/7 these days. Ever since my "awakening" - aka the birth of my first child and the two years of sanity-destroying sleep deprivation and insomnia that followed - I am trying every moment to be the most present, grounded, and awake person I can be. 

Sometimes that ain't much. 

But some days it feels like I just might be sending out a wave of light and love big enough to spark a change in my family, my community, my country and maybe even the world.

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