There is so much need, so much want in the world. The news headlines from one day can cover a range of issues ranging from workplace bullying and cancer, to the crisis in Syria and refugees. We are exposed to so much need both locally and worldwide. It is hard to believe that my little contribution will make a dent in any of it.
This sense of overwhelmed helplessness is so common we have a term for it, ‘compassion fatigue’.
Compassion fatigue: indifference to charitable appeals on behalf of suffering people, experienced as a result of the frequency or number of such appeals.
I feel it myself, the huge need in our community and our world. And I find it hard to know whom to help. If I am not careful this can lead to indecision and paralysis, and I end up helping no one.
So I narrow my focus. I start with one need, one person, and one contribution.
We start with sponsoring a child with Transform Cambodia. We aren’t changing the world, but we are changing that child’s life. We sponsor that child year in year out until it’s just a part of us; it’s what we do. A habit if you will.
So when my husband turns to me and says, “I think we need to sponsor a child in Nepal”, I say yes. Because it is one need, one person, and one contribution.
Then when my girls ask to do Operation Christmas Child boxes I say yes. They are each providing a Christmas gift for one little girl. They are seeing one need, making one contribution and changing the life of one person.
The big picture of need, poverty and want in our world is too much for me to handle. But one contribution, one need, one person; that I can handle. And when helping that one person is part of our routine, we can add another person, another need. It becomes so entrenched in our thinking and in our finances that the question is not “Do I save the world?” but “Do we help this person?”
And I truly believe that’s it. Find a cause that stirs your heart. Start with one need, one contribution, and one person. Before you know it, it will be a habit, and you will be adding another need.
The antidote to the indifference of compassion fatigue is to start small, see a need, and contribute a little.
Because as my friend recently captioned an Instagram post ‘this is how we change the world, one small good deed at a time.’
Join me for the journey,