Saving the World All by Ourselves

Hank Mattimore
Nov. 11, 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Fellow "do-gooder" and a close friend of mine were talking about all the people in our lives who needed help with their problems. Relatives, friends, kids, old folks all were up for discussion. We worried about all of them. Man! It was exhausting trying to figure out how we could rescue all these people. There wasn't enough time in our days to solve all their problems. We were starting to feel depressed just thinking about our inadequacies.

Then, in a flash of enlightenment, (or was it the red wine?) we hit upon the only possible solution. "You know something," my friend said in mock seriousness "You and I can't die. We have too many people depending on us."

We had a good laugh at ourselves over our own imagined self-importance. We decided that it was time for self-appointed "fixers" like ourselves to get a life and time to take ourselves less seriously. The truth is, and we know it in our heads, we don't change anyone. People solve their own issues or they don't get solved.

The troubled teen-ager I angst over will get over his anger issues (or he won't.) The mom driving herself crazy over trying to balance taking care of an elderly parent and two little kids will eventually figure things out. The man with a drinking problem will stop drinking when he wants to and in his own time. Divorce happens, our pet pooch dies, kids make mistakes; but life goes on. It ain't a perfect world but it's all we got.

Does that mean we don't lend a hand to a kid in trouble or take no responsibility for the planet we inhabit? Of course not. We are in this world together, mates. To be human is to care for others.

But we "fixers" need to accept our limitations. Even religious people (among the worst of do-gooders) would do well to acknowledge that whatever good we do is only a part of a larger design. God is still in charge.

The Creator has his own plans for our lives and the lives of wounded teens and traumatized vets and ill-nourished children. We are part of the plan and God or the Universe or the Spirit invites us to be part of the solution but we are not the whole show. God works through us but we are pretty silly if we think we are in control. Those who would carry the whole world on their shoulders, need to stop, look at themselves and, like my friend and I, have a good laugh.