know the stories, know the issues

Along with knowing that there is a problem comes the equally important realization that something needs to be done. Along with understanding that YOU are the person to do something comes the actualization of what to do and how to do it. Along with that actualization comes the needs to know the facts, a need to know the stories and faces behind the issues.

Many people become overwhelmed by the multitude of problems and the sheer magnitude of the issues. But we all need to stop and look beyond the numbers and visit the places where the faces behind the numbers live. We need to meet the statistics face to face. Do not be overwhelmed. Here is a great story that my mom once told me. The story has many variations, but I will tell it as it was told to me:

On a beautiful evening with an incredible sunset and a brisk breeze coming from the ocean, an old man is walking along the beach. As he enjoys his walk along the seaside he comes across a little boy quickly and almost frantically running back and forth from beach to the water. The old man notices that each time he runs back and forth, the little boy picks up a sea star and flings it back into the ocean. The shore is littered with sea stars caught on the sand after the high tide has gone out. He stops and says, ” Little boy how can you possibly hope to save all those sea stars from dying? There is no way that you can help them all.” The little boy looks up at the old man, bends down, grabs another sea star, flings it into the ocean and says, “it mattered to that one.”

Do not be overwhelmed. No matter what you do, as long as you have influenced one life, then you have made a difference. There is a myriad of problems in the world, but we cannot be discouraged by them because we must remember what is at the root of those problems. At the root is people like you and me. I have met those people, I have seen the faces of people who are no longer here and so I tell you – and still I tell you don’t be discouraged. We need to remember why we are working to solve the world’s problems. My memory flashes to the faces that are gone. For the next few weeks I will be posting stories about people affected by various issues on the African continent and how you can get involved.

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