A friend asked me recently about what keeps me up at night. What do I think about most when I lay there in bed in those final moments before drifting off?
I wish I could say it was about how fortunate I am, but that’s not the case. I have my health, my family and friends, and I spend just about every single moment of my life doing exactly what I want to do at the moment.
Everyone should be so lucky.
But they’re not. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
What keeps me awake at night is thinking about that family living under the bridge, and the 1% at the top responsible for the same level of carbon emissions as the poorest 3.1 billion people (OaxFam).
The extreme and obscene inequality that exists on the planet is what keeps me awake. That, coupled with anger and disgust with the political and economic forces that enable it.
The good news is I awake just about every morning thinking about what I can do to make things better. Then, when I take such an action whether large or small, voila’, I feel better – and sleep better as well.
So my question right back to my friend who asked the question and to you reading this today is what keeps YOU up at night? And what are YOU doing to make it better?
Is it that young woman sitting on the sidewalk in the rain and cold? Will you stop and offer her a poncho to keep her dry? Will you stop by the shelter on your way home with a box of personal hygiene items, some food perhaps, or maybe even a cash donation to help?
And will you send off an email to your Legislator, the Mayor, or a Councilmember asking them to help as well?
Or perhaps you cannot sleep knowing your favorite mountain stream no longer runs year round and the beach you frequented during small kid times, is now gone? When you awake, what will you do to make it better so you feel better and the world gets better?
I understand you have a life of your own to live. You have bills to pay and family obligations that must come first. Believe me, I get it.
But I gotta ask you this question as well. What keeps you up at night and what actions big or small are you taking to make it better?
One of these days when my grandchildren have grown up to be young adults and ask me “Where were you grandpa? Where were you when the sea levels were rising and the storms just beginning to rage? Where were you when 685 million people were in abject poverty and dying in doorways, in the bushes at the side of the road, and under the bridges?”
When that day comes, my hope is that they will be proud of my answer. I hope, wish, and pray the same for you and for all of us. For the only way we will win this battle, the only way we will save the planet and bring peace and a decent life to the people on it – is for both of us and all of us to take those actions needed to help us sleep better at night.
Whether offering regular small actions or larger commitments of time, energy, and yes money – all are needed. No contribution’s too small and the potential collective impact of all of us helping in even small ways – has huge potential.
Imagine the collective impact of each of us giving just $5 to that worthy non-profit. Imagine the impact on our parks if each of us took just a little bit more out than we brought in? Imagine the collective power of our voice – if each of us just used it.
During these especially important days, as one year ends and another begins, let’s make this our collective resolution – To wake up every single day of our life and do something meaningful whether large or small to help make our world a better place.